What is the difference between professional players ranked day 5-10 and those ranked 15-20? I would argue (putting aside the top four or five players in the world) that their skill levels are mostly the same; but the difference in results — therefore rankings — lies between their ears.
Rick Flach Disagrees
We had a “lively discussion” one lunch at Goldie’s in Naples after tennis with Spike’s group; and Rick contends, “You can play with more confidence than me… Play ‘smarter’ than me … But if I am better than you, I will beat you every time!”
I couldn’t disagree more — and told him so. I think a lower skilled and lower ranked player can “play over his head,” if on that day, he has extreme belief in his strokes and, therefore swings fluidly and with confidence.
I also think that there is always something you can do on the court to play smarter and …
• Minimize your opponent’s strength
• Take advantage of any weakness he may have
• Or, maximize your strengths against his game
During the TV broadcast of the women’s finals, Chris Evert said, “Li Na needs to play with confidence and belief in her game, in order to have a chance to beat Serena.”
And I had this same discussion with several people at camp, with some interesting and varying opinions… Almost all the ‘campers’ felt that the mental came COULD make a difference in the outcome of a close match; but Marty Reissen agreed with Rick that the better player would prevail.
So, how about you, Do You Believe?
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