In an earlier review of what the big time players do differently from others during the important points, Fred wrote:
“Sure, they may come up with a great shot at a crucial time, but they would hit that same shot under the exact same circumstance at any other time in the match as well. There’s no way to say to yourself, it’s now really an important point in the match so I’m going to make a spectacular shot now.
“One point at a time, figuring in what has been done previously in the match is always the best way to win a point. You may decide as the ball is coming over the net and the opponent is approaching, that the last two times you’ve gone down the line and now you’ll go cross court, or you may have even decided after the last time that you were going to go cross court on the next one or you may be one foot closer to the ball and now can go cross court.”
So what I took from Fred’s comments (and what I have seen the better players do against me) is that they RECOGNIZE PATTERNS (theirs or yours) that have taken place during a match; and at critical times they exploit those patterns.
So today, John Berry and I are teamed up in an 8.5 (4.5 + 4.0) round robin doubles play with five teams playing each other for just seven games. A tough format.
In our third “match” of the day, the other team is serving a critical game and …
• The server is basically a singles baseliner who serves, stays back, and hits good groundstrokes.
• I am returning from the ad court and in my first two attempts, I slice my backhand cross court.
• The server runs around his backhand and hits well-controlled open-faced forehands crosscourt to my backhand.
• He controls the point and eventual wins both.
• His shots are good enough that my partner John cannot pick them off at the net.
• So on ad in, game point for them, I think of Fred’s comments about “recognizing patterns and doing something about it.”
• He serves to my backhand, which I slice crosscourt, and he runs around and hits his open-faced forehand cross court.
• But this time, I am CHARGING TO THE NET and put away an easy volley.
• We go on to win that game and the match.
P.S. John and I came in second to the solid team of Mike Griner and Jack Moter and play them in the finals on Sunday.