Thanks to Ian Westerman at EssentialTennis.com for these pointers on how to play a better player, someone who is significantly better than you and will beat you unless you do something differently.
According to Ian, if you play your “regular game” and hit basic “rally ball” shots, your opponent will get into a nice rhythm and beat you. So, the first tip is: Don’t let him get into a rhythm.
So, what do you do?
One option is to be overly aggressive and go for winning shots sooner than you normally would. If you play your regular game and he doesn’t have an off day, you will lose. So take yourself out of your own comfort zone and pull the trigger sooner than normal (this will also have the added benefit of not letting him get into a good rhythm).
A second option is just reverse of the first one… To play like a pusher and try to keep everything in play and hopes he makes some mistakes and gets frustrated. Part of this strategy is to throw in some off-speed and “junk” shots.
The third option for style of play is a combination of the previous two: play the game of the consistent player and as soon as you get an opening go for the winner. Again, he will not get any rhythm in his game.
What have you done when facing a superior player – and did it work?
P.S. Congratulations on this Father’s Day weekend to Ian on becoming a new father!
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