When You Miss

Every tennis player in the world does it … they blow the easy shot.  But what you do or say after that miss might help you the next time.  Here are some considerations.

What do you do?

Frequently, the player who misses the shot mimics the INCORRECT motion that caused the error.  But rather, they should rehearse what the CORRECT stroke would have looked like.

Instead of reinforcing the bad behavior, it is better to lay the groundwork for making the right motion the next time.

What do you say?

How many times have you heard, “I can’t make a single shot today!”  … or, “Today is just not my day!”??

In my opinion, that makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will continue to miss shots.  Rather, accept the fact that you blew JUST THAT SHOT and move on to try to play your regular, solid game.

And on a psychological note, listen to what players call themselves after a miss.  Frequently, they will use the name their mother/father used when reprimanding them.  For example, when missing an easy shot, Bob will yell out “Robert William!”.  Hmmmm.

What does your partner say?

Almost as important as your reaction to an easy miss is your doubles partner’s reaction to your miss.  Are they supportive and tell you that you made the right move, keep on swinging, you’ll make more than you miss?

Or are they judgmental and groan, make a face, or actually say something negative to you?  For me, one of the most critical traits of a good doubles partner is one who is NOT judgmental, but continues to encourage you.

How do YOU react to missing an easy shot?

Mas Kimball Update (from Mas)…

Hi All,

Firstly, thank you all for the support, prayers, best wishes, and good vibes sent to me in my fight with pancreatic cancer. Although I may not have time to answer each of you individually, I do read every email, and they do lift me up, so THANK YOU!!!

Unfortunately, I have bad news and not so bad news this morning.

With the biopsy results performed last week completed, Dr. Abrams at Dana Farber in Boston confirmed the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The bad news is that the cancer has “showered” through the abdominal cavity, thereby classifying this as a Stage 4 Cancer. Therefore, neither surgery or radiation are options. Chemotherapy is the only choice at this point. So, I begin two months of Chemo on December 7th with treatments every two weeks. After four treatments, another scan will determine if the Chemotherapy is working to reduce the cancer. I’m also investigating alternative approaches to mitigate the effects of the treatments and methods to “starve” the cancer through diet and supplements.

The not so bad news is that because I am otherwise in good health with no underlining conditions and physically fit (thank you tennis!!), my chances of withstanding the Chemo with beneficial effects are increased. So, for now, it is eating as much as I can to stabilize my weight, taking pain meds so I am comfortable, and staying as positive and as active as possible. It doesn’t sound too hard!

So … that’s the news from Lake Wobegon. Happy Thanksgiving!

Stay healthy, take care of yourself and be safe,

All my best,


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12 thoughts on “When You Miss

  1. Mas,

    Thanks for the note. Our healing thoughts and prayers are with you brother! Stay positive! I know it is tough and you’re one of the greatest positive thinkers I know!

    God bless!


  2. This is a very touchy subject and strikes to the heart of what I call “partner relations” on the court while playing. You must remain positive with your partner even with the unforced errors that are sure to show up throughout the match! I often find a well placed “F-Bomb” can help and motivate both me and my partner to make it to the next great shot! LOL!

    Jim, as long as you are bombing yourself and not your partner! thanks, george

  3. i must have said “Move On” about a thousand times. it’s positive,
    and puts that mistake behind you.

    Joe, and i have heard you say it (to me!). Thanks, george

  4. Mas,
    So sorry to hear about your health issues. All your friends in Sarasota miss seeing your smiling face and cheerful attitude. Your competitive spirt will help you get through this bump in the road. Please come back soon, so we can celebrate your recovery.
    Big hug,

  5. Mas,
    We are close and with you.
    I love” The 3 Second Rule” ! We have 3 seconds to vent, whine or whatever and then recommit to our partner and our reason for being there and we both know it and do it.

    Noble, yes, i am one to let out a quick scream (as you know), and then move on. thanks, george

  6. George, I believe the ultimate competitive skill in doubles is the ability to communicate the right emotional message to your partner when he or she needs it. You should remain supportive, encouraging and responsive, no matter how well (or badly) your partner is playing. Your emotional skills help him/her stay relaxed, energized and upbeat. A good idea is for all doubles players to forget the phrase, “Talk is Cheap”. In fact, talk is an extremely valuable way to improve your team’s winning percentage. The most valuable time to talk is between points. That’s when you calm your teammate’s anxieties and build confidence. Tennis is an emotional game, and if you don’t suppress your reactions after points, you will fluctuate emotionally throughout the match, once you become discouraged you will play even worse. But, it’s never 100 percent certain you’re going to lose. Focus on the fact that as long as you’re out there, it’s always possible for you to win. Grab onto that possibility so you keep a positive frame of mind regardless of the score.
    I certainly hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and I wish to extol heartfelt get well wishes to those players recovering at this time. A healthy, happy holidays to all.

    Glen, and an important ingredient in having good communication is knowing WHAT your partner wants to hear. Each player is different. I had one who said, “Don’t talk to me after i miss!” Thanks, george

  7. Mas,

    My thoughts and best wishes are with you during these most trying times. All your tennis friends are praying for a positive outcome for you. You are an incredible individual!

  8. Mas,

    So sorry to hear about your prognosis. You have been not only a top player, but a great advocate and ambassador for senior tennis. I’m distressed by how many great players have been experiencing medical challeges recently. The fact that I’m not part of that top echelon will hopefully confer some immunity to me!

    Best wishes from Suzy and myself. Our thoughts and prayers will certainly be with you and hope to see you back on the courts before long.

    Best, Jerry

  9. Mas,
    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. As in every match you’ve played, keep fighting the good fight!!

  10. Mas, So sorry to hear! I know all of us are sending positive thoughts your way.

    After missing a shot, I recommend to rehearse the shot you missed visualizing how the shot would have gone if had made the shot. Then straighten your racquet strings. Reboot and get ready for the next point.

    Chuck, thanks, george

  11. Dear Mas,

    We are all hoping for the best for you, you are certainly one of the good ones!
    This year past is a year to forget for so many reasons, however during the past months many of us have become closer to our tennis friends as tennis emerged as one of the few respites from what is happening all around us. Your efforts to promote Senior tennis has made a huge difference. We are all appreciative of your vision and thank you for taking the time to make our sport a priority. Your commitment and positive attitude have made a huge impact to so very many of our lives! Hang in there!

    Best regards,

  12. I don’t know you, personally, Mas, but you obviously have a lot of devoted friends. Hang in there…stay positive. Scoot

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