“Let it go!” + Fred

There is a believed bad call against a player and they just can’t seem to let it go.  They carry on in their minds, or to the referee, or to the other player, or to their “team”… and they lose focus.

Reilly Opelka Example

The young, seven-foot American was playing a lead-up tournament to the French Open on red clay (i.e. no challenge/review system being used) and he stopped play on a critical point on his baseline.  The official came out of the chair, checked the mark, and declared it “Good” and loss of point.

Young Opelka couldn’t stop making faces and gesturing towards the people in his box; to the point where he wasn’t making any shots.

Let it Go

The teaching point is: one bad call usually won’t change the outcome of a match; but how you react to it can.  (P.S. further TV review showed the official was correct and Reilly was wrong).

So whether it is a perceived bad line call or your own “blown shot,” the key to victory is having the proverbial “short memory” and focus on playing the next point.

Your thoughts on handling your emotions?  And, why don’t clay court tournaments use Shot Spot to avoid confusion and arguments?

Drilling for Gold

Our own Fred Drilling has done it again!  He teamed with Don Long to win the National 75s Hard Court Gold ball in three sets over the #2 seeds; and then went on to take the Silver in the singles, losing to the always-tough Jimmy Parker.

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7 thoughts on ““Let it go!” + Fred

  1. Sadly, most tennis pros today have known nothing else but tennis since childhood. Their perspective on life may be skewed by coaches and/or parents making it difficult for them to make some common sense decisions. They tend to focus on each point as if it was the only thing in their lives, rather than looking at the big picture.
    We amateurs often are caught up in the same morass even though it is not our livelihood.
    Obviously, the wise thing to do is forget the last point and go on to the next.

    Michael, yes, for them it means MONEY; so why do some of us hackers act the same?! thanks, george

  2. I always like to ask my opponent “Are you sure?” on a bad call and of course they are always sure, but seriously, the way I change my focus from a really bad call and emotional distraction, is to put the focus back into the ball itself and the trajectory of the ball coming off of my opponent’s racket! It’s an exercise called “follow the trajectory” that I read about in Tim Gallway’s “Inner Game of Tennis”. Never forgot it!

    Jim, another technique is to remember: “Action thinking, not story thinking.” ie, focus on the next shot, not the “story” of where it all leads. thanks, george

  3. In doubles, I find I am almost always the person who assumes the opposing players are being honest — until I have clear and convincing proof that they are not. By such proof, I generally follow the “three strikes” rule since, the first time it happens, and even the second time, it can often not be indicative of a conscious intent to cheat but, instead, it may just be an honest mistake. We are all human and none of us is infallible. I need to clearly see the ball in that my opponents have called out to be convinced that cheating is actually occurring.

    But, as we all do, I sometimes get paired with a partner who just cannot seem to let the supposed bad call go. I absolutely HATE playing with partners like this. They elevate the tension unnecessarily. They won’t shut up. They just keep going on and on about the supposed “hook,” as though the future of the entire western world is dependent on them somehow teaching the opponents a lesson or getting the opponents to break down in a fit of remorse and confess to both Jesus and the Virgin Mary as follows: “Yes, I confess all of my sins, including that I knowingly cheated on that service call that I called out in the first game when the ball was 1/32d touching the service line but I willingly and consciously, and with malice aforethought, called it out with the purpose and design of hooking my opponents. I wish to rot in Hell forever for this and all of my other sins. In the meantime I will say 27 Hail Maries and promise to never do it again.”

    I have got news for all of the people who overreact to someone else’s bad line call: 99.99% of the time . . . IT . . . IS . . . NOT . . . INTENTIONAL. So, keep your AR-15 in your tennis bag. Get rid of that scowl on your face. Suppress the adrenaline in your fight or flight syndrome. Direct your anger to your game and not against your opponents. Learn to shut up and just play. And assume your opponents are truly innocent unless and until it happens so frequently, or so obviously, that you genuinely are certain that cheating is occurring and that it is deliberate.

    If you don’t, you are just doing damage to our team, because instead of my siding with you in your screams of protest, what I REALLY want to do is take my racquet and break it over your pin head for being such an annoying piss ant and making ME lose MY concentration and play bad. Learn to chill!! It’s only tennis!!!!

    Marty, i have had those partners and feel the same way!! thanks, george

  4. “Show me the mark” is the magical retort. If the opponent has to search for a mark, your shot was probably good. If opponent immediately circles a spot, shot was probably out.

    Baird, i am with you. thanks, george

  5. Would you clay courters agree that sometimes, maybe not often, a ball does not leave a mark? I think what I’m hearing is that even if you were sure the ball was 6″ out, if there is no mark, you call it good. I think that may be the easier way to go in the long run!

    Mike, I believe every shot on a clay court (that doesn’t land smack on the line) will leave a mark. Thanks, george

  6. Hard to get too upset about a perceived bad call at our age….it’s just such a privilege to have good health, good friends, and the leisure time to play the game!

    Scoot, the right perspective to have! thanks, george

  7. Scoot,

    You have got it right. Injury kept me out for 2 and a half years and boy did I miss everything. Now, all I think after any adversity is “Where would I rather be.” I think we all know the answer. Right here competing.

    And you know what else. Even I (haha) have honestly made incorrect calls. When I am perfect I should expect perfection from everyone else. All I can say is I will make every call honestly.

    Pat, great perspective on life, liberty, and the pursuit of the perfect tennis game! thanks, george

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