Quantcast
nodot nodot
Circle Game
May 2001 Article

Contact to Greg Moran

Mortal Tennis/Circle Game Archive

Get Greg Moran's book Tennis Beyond Big Shots at Amazon.com

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Na Li
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
tennis ball Jelena Jankovic
tennis ball Victoria Azarenka
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball David Ferrer
tennis ball Juan Martin del Potro
tennis ball Grigor Dimitrov
tennis ball Andy Murray
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Circle Game By Greg Moran


 

Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
The Devil Made Me Do It

Greg Moran Photo
Greg Moran

Movie and television directors will often employ a familiar tactic when one of their characters is faced with a difficult decision. The character is struggling with a moral dilemma of some sort when, all of a sudden, the director takes us inside the characters mind by putting a small devil on one of their shoulders and an angel on the other. Both diminutive figures have voices, and strong opinions as to what course of action the character should take.

The devil's voice is usually rough and stern while the angels is soft and gentle. The devil's motives are evil and the angel's, pure. The devil speaks in one ear, the angel in the other, as both present their cases for the character to take the particular course of action they feel appropriate. The character listens to both, weighs his options and then makes his or her decision. Usually the angel presents the more convincing case and wins the debate, however, in some instances, the character is unable to resist the lure of the devil and travels down the "evil path."

The angel and the devil are meant to represent both sides of the characters personality and we, as tennis players, also have an angel and a devil on our shoulders fighting for control of our on-court persona.

How many times have you said to yourself after a particularly bad error, "God, why did I do that?" "Why did I try that shot when all I had to do was get the ball back in the court?" Chances are, the reason you tried that shot had a lot to do with your tennis devil.

As I've said many, many times in the past, tennis is a game of errors and the player who makes the fewest errors usually wins the match. I've talked about un-forced and forced errors. Forced errors are shots that you miss because your opponent has hit something to you that you just can't handle. Unforced errors are those shots that we miss that we really have no business missing.

There's not a great deal that you can do about "forced" errors other than trying to keep the ball away from your opponent's strengths. "Un-forced" errors are an entirely different situation and this is where our tennis angels and devils come into play. I believe that, to a large extent, the unforced errors that we make are largely mental errors, usually along the lines of shot selection.

I can't tell you how many times, every day, I see a player in a horrible position on the court try a low percentage shot in an attempt to win the point. An example from just the other day: Bill is ten feet behind the baseline, the ball is up above his head on his backhand side, and his opponent has charged the net.

What shot does Bill attempt from this VERY defensive position? A cross-court passing shot meant to cross the net with approximately two inches of height. You can guess the result -ERROR! Now true, Bill was in a defensive position, but there was absolutely no reason for the point to end on Bill's shot. He had other options than the low percentage shot he attempted.

As Bill began to move for that shot, I could almost see the angel and the devil pop up on his shoulders. The angel is saying, "Now Bill, we're in a bit of trouble here. We've got to run all the way across the court, hit a high backhand, and remember, we really don't like backhands to begin with, let alone high ones. To make matters worse, Frank (our opponent) is charging the net. What should we do here? I think the best shot to hit would be a nice high, deep lob. This will force Frank to back up, hit an overhead which we both know is the most physically demanding shot in the game, and it will also give us time to get back into position and catch our breath because this has sure been a long point. Yes Bill, that's the solution, play it safe and hit the lob."

Strong case from the angel. The only problem is that, like Bill, the angle also has an opponent with just as loud a voice as the angels's voice, in fact perhaps louder. This is the devil saying: "Come on Bill, let's get this point over with right now," he says. "It's simple. You're tired, it's been a long point, and the sooner you end this point the sooner you can towel off and catch your breath. Go for the big shot. I know the balls up over your head Bill, but you're a player. Take that backhand, swing hard, and aim for that three inches of open court you've got to Frank's left. Go for the glory, the crowd will go nuts (all two of them) and you'll get the girl. Girls like men who are dangerous Bill, don't play it safe, that's for wimps. Are you a wimp Bill? Go for it, you CAN DO IT!"

Unfortunately, real life is seldom like the movies and, on the tennis court, the devil often wins out. Bill goes for the "big" albeit extremely low percentage shot and of course makes the error. You can almost hear the devil inside Bill laughing that evil laugh and gloating, " Ha, I got you again."

In my opinion, one of the biggest differences between higher and lower level tennis players is that the higher level players have learned to keep the devil in them under control. They recognize when they are in a bad position, fight the urge to go for the low percentage shot and play the ball back safely. The lower level players give in to the devil who is constantly screaming in their ears, "Go for it, you can do it."

Learn to control the devil in you and you'll begin to cut way down on those unforced errors. Here are two strategies for defeating the devil:

    DEVIL DEFEATER #1: Fight back. When you get the urge to really tee off and nail the ball, recognize that this is the tennis devil speaking to you and he wants you to fail. When he says,"HIT IT HARD, DUMMY," don't. When you get the urge to go for a small space on the court, it's the devil again. If he tells you to aim you shot for a space less than 5-6 feet wide, DON'T.

    DEVIL DEFEATER #2: When in trouble, lob. If my students learn nothing from me as far as strategy is concerned, I want them to learn to lob when they are in trouble. Too many errors are made when players try low percentage shots when they are out of position. If you are uncomfortable in any way, if the ball is too close, too far, too high, too low, say these three words to yourself--"HIT UP." This will almost certainly insure that you get the ball back into play and force your opponent to hit an extra shot. Remember even the shortest, weakest lob is better than an error.

Incorporate these two techniques into your mind-set and you'll soon find that you're playing a high level, more "angelic" brand of tennis.

Good luck and have fun!

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Mortal Tennis/Circle Game Archive

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by Greg Moran, all rights reserved.

Greg Moran is the Head Professional at the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Connecticut. He is a former ranked junior and college player and certified by both the USPTA and USPTR. Greg has written on a wide variety of tennis-related subjects for numerous newspapers and tennis publications including Tennis, Tennis Match and Court Time magazines. He is also a member of the FILA and WILSON Advisory Staffs.

Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Greg by using this form.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Rogers Cup Tickets Toronto 8/4-8/10
 
Western & Southern Open Tickets Cincinnati 8/9-8/17
 
US Open Tickets 8/25-9/8
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
July 6, 2014 Between The Lines: Glory At Wimbledon 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: The Great Tennis Divide by Tom Veneziano.
 
July 2014 Tennis Anyone: Prevention by John Mills.
 
July 2014 Turbo Tennis: Perfect Volleys by Ron Waite.
 
June 21, 2014 Between The Lines: Spotlight Wimbledon 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: Tennis University by Tom Veneziano.
 
June 2014 Tennis Anyone: High-Low vs. Low-High by John Mills.
 
June 2014 Turbo Tennis: 'Sensible' Tennis by Ron Waite.
 
May 2014 Wild Cards: Michael Chang Wins Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Challenge in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 
April 2014 Wild Cards: Revenge of the Yankees! Great Britain Dominates The U.S. In San Diego by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Sony Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 9 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 10 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 11 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 12 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 16 Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 15 Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 14 Men's Third Round Women's Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 13 Men's Third Round Women's Fourth Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 12 Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 9 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 2nd Round Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 10 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 2nd Round Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 11 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 12 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 3rd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 17 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles & Doubles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 18 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles & Doubles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 19 Tickets Miami Women's Semifinals Men's Singles Quarterfinals Men's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 20 Tickets Miami Women's Semifinals Men's Singles Quarterfinals Men's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy