We have all had it happen to us one way or the other… the tennis match is decidedly in favor of one side and then Big MO switches sides and the other player/team somehow takes control and wins. What makes that happen?
Playing vs. Fred Drilling
In a doubles match this week, I was teamed with solid lefty Ed Yablonski vs. Fred Drilling and Jeff Boston. Early on, Ed and I could do no wrong – while both Fred and Jeff were missing shots.
As unbelievable as it sounds, we bageled them in the first set (6-0) and were up a break in the second set. They then turned the tide and won a close second set 6-4; and then we played a “half set” (starting at two games apiece), and they won that.
Here is what I THINK happened to us (and does to others in the same situation). When the match starts getting closer…
• The leading team’s server is just a little more cautious/conservative and has less pop and placement on their serve
• + the leading team’s net man becomes just a little more cautious/conservative and doesn’t poach or fake as much
• + the trailing team’s returners become a little more confident and aggressive on their returns of serve
• + the trailing team’s partner becomes a little more confident and aggressive on their movement and shots at the net
• The sum total: Big MO switches sides of the net
What To Do?
The obvious answer: the leading team needs to stay aggressive. Yes, it is easier said than done. But if you ever try to “protect the lead,” you all too frequently lose it.
As Billie Jean King writes in her autobiography (of the same title), “Pressure is a privilege,” meaning you worked hard to get where you are; so enjoy the moment.
Have you been there and done that??
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