Often players do the opposite of what they are supposed to do in
order to solve problems in their match play. This opposite
phenomenon consistently occurs on tennis courts throughout the
world. Players actually sabotage themselves simply by thinking
incorrectly! Make no mistake about it, thinking is a powerful
tool, in fact ONE thought can make you or break you.
Let me illustrate by giving you two quick examples.
Did you ever notice that after your opponent hits two or three
balls back to you, you inevitably overplay each succeeding ball?
By the time the fourth or fifth ball comes back it does not matter
if this is the right ball (easy set up) to hit a winner, you
pulverized it anyway. What causes this miscalculation? There are
two reasons. First, the more times the ball comes back over the
net, the more you think you will be the one to miss. As a result,
you become impatient and nervous and attempt to end the point as
soon as possible. Second, the more the ball keeps coming back,
the more you think you have done something wrong! Again, you
become impatient and nervous and go for the gold too soon,
leaving you with an unforced error.
This incorrect thinking causes players to lose many, many points.
Just because the ball keeps coming back does not mean you have
done something wrong. I refer you to Tennis 101. Player A hits
ball to player B and player B tries to hit it back. This is the
object of the game. It's supposed to come back! Instead of trying
to constantly put the ball away, do the opposite. Learn to be more
patient and less nervous and wait for the right shot before
attempting a winner.
You are having a tough day at the courts, your timing and rhythm
are off and you are not playing well. What should you do? Oddly
enough the solution most players choose is to rear back and hit
the ball harder! Inevitably they dig themselves in even deeper.
The correct solution is to do the opposite. You should slow it
down and try to re-establish your timing and rhythm, skillfully
working yourself back into the match. As your timing begins to
improve, then you can speed up your shots again. Hitting the ball
harder when you are in a slump does not make sense. If your
timing and rhythm were off at your normal speed, why would it be
any better when your blasting the ball? Learn to think right
about this situation and save yourself a lot of frustration.
Well, there you have it --- two match-play problems solved by
thinking the opposite.
1. Don't think you have done something wrong when the ball
comes back to you more than two or three times.
2. Don't hit harder when you are in a slump, instead slow
it down and re-establish your timing and rhythm.