You are losing a tennis match. It makes no difference what the situation is … your opponent in singles or the other team in doubles is better than you … you are missing shots … or “something” is just not working. There are two critical questions you need to ask yourself.
Those questions are:
What’s happening here?
What will you do about it?
First you have to figure out WHAT IS HE DOING that is making it difficult for you to win more points and games?
• Is he hitting great drop shots?
• Is he a lefty and serving/playing to your weaker backhand?
• In doubles, are they taking the net away from you and putting away easy volleys?
• Are they returning well cross court?
• Are they poaching and winning points?
Whatever the reason – or no matter how superior the opponent is to you – there is always SOMETHING YOU CAN DO to at least win some more points make the score a little closer. Think about what is happening and what you can do to take away that.
• Is he hitting great drop shots? Stand inside the baseline during rallies and look for the drop shot. Sure, he may be able to drive the ball deep to the corners; but that will be not what he prefers to do and a more difficult shot.
• Is he a lefty and serving/playing to your weaker backhand? Stand farther over to your left on return of serve to force him to serve to your forehand. You will get beat a couple of times on the one you can’t reach; but again, you have made him change his game.
• In doubles, are they taking the net away from you and putting away easy volleys? Play both players back and go into a lobbing mode to move them back; then you and your partner take the net.
• Are they returning well cross court? Break their pattern by poaching, faking, and playing Australian on them.
• Are they poaching and winning points? Drive the ball at the net man — if he stays there, he will have to make a reflex volley. If he has poached, you are now hitting to the open court, where the server is rushing to cover.
These are just a few examples of the problems you may face and possible solutions. There are many more cases and answers; but the key is not to come off the court and THEN analyze the match and figure out why you lost and “what you should have done.”
Think about it on the court; and slow down that steam roller that is crushing you.
Maybe i will need to put this to use next week at the USTA Category II Super Senior tournament at Longboat Key, with many of the big names coming to play. Here is the link: Longboat.