Your mind can be a powerful force – either positive or negative – in everything that you do. One player is seeking advice on how to fight “the yips” in his tennis game.
Like Golfer’s Putting Yips
George, your posting on the toss happens to be very timely for me. Lately — over the course of the last six months or so — I have developed a nasty case of the “yips” with my service toss. It is kind of like golfers getting the yips when they putt.
I do all of the right things to avoid/ prevent it — like holding the ball in my fingers, trying to keep my arm straight and not break my elbow or wrist when I toss, practicing the toss before I serve, etc. — but it is mainly mental with me. When the yips come, I wind up tossing the ball all over the place, including both not being able to control the toss’s direction as well as its height. However, it does not come all of the time; only in certain instances and against certain opponents, which is why I know it is more mental than technique in origin.
A good example of the problem occurred yesterday when I played a friendly match of singles against a friend who is about my age and happens to be a top level player in Middle States. This is someone whose game I respect enormously and who I have always looked up to.
I wound up losing 6-4, 6-4 but I had a legitimate chance to win both sets, and maybe even win the match, since 3 out of the 4 games that I won in each set came from my breaking his serve. However, what was enormously frustrating is that I just could not toss the ball properly on my own serve and I wound up giving games away with many errant and just plain crappy serves and even a few double faults. All of this came from my yippy toss.
I know that the stock flippant answers will be to go see a shrink or give up tennis, but quite seriously, has anybody encountered or heard of this issue and does anybody have some good advice on what I can do to get over it?? It is driving me nuts (okay, nuttier than I already am) on the tennis court.
Marty, maybe some more knowledgeable players than me can comment, but my feeling would be to practice with friends and play friendly matches where “it doesn’t count”; so you can regain your confidence.
Fred Drilling advises people play most of their practice matches vs. players they can beat; so they can practice shots and build up their confidence by winning.
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