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View Full Version : Desperately need advice not to choke at the end of each game !!


justine&coria
Jun 26th, 2005, 05:52 PM
Let me introduce myself :
I'm a guy (I hope the admins won't tell me to put this thread at menstennisforums :devil: ).
Well, I'm a guy who almost has all the shots in tennis : great serve though I'm quite small, big forehand, bakhand, slice, quite good volleys, smash, not so bad drop shots (not la Justine but ok), good footwork etc.

When I don't play tournies, I can beat people who are ranked a lot higher than me. But, when I play in a tounament, I lose to people I should have beaten quite easily :mad: . (and how they annoy me when they say at the end, you have all the shots, you're quite good, but ...). Last time I lost to an old guy who was just making slices from both sides. :rolleyes:

First I don't think I've ever won the 1st 3 games of a match !! I've always trailed 3-0 ! :rolleyes:
Then, I start playing well , but I choke at the end of (almost) every game !! It's really boring:
- either I double-fault : I just don't feel my serve that is really good otherwise.
- or I try for the winner, I don't know why (and it's always an error).

I can have 3 aces, and then lose the game after of course having many advantages. How many games I've lost after having game/break-points ! :sad:
Many times, I've trailed 5-0, came back to 5-4 and then lost the set 6-4.

My friends keep telling me that it'll get better tournament after tournament. But the tournaments are quite expensive, and I play them just during the holidays (3 months in a year).
And every year, it's quite the same. And I'm really fed up of this.

What can I do ? :confused: I really need some advice.

I've tried to calm myself telling me not to try for the winner : then either I'm too calm and double-fault, either I try not to make an error and it's a ball that goes in the net or 20 metres out.
I've told myself : "play this point as another one !" -> it doesn't work.
I've tried to think of every thing I'm gonna do : toss the ball this way, serve there, move well etc...
I've tried to think about a song I really like :tape: . well, same result.

Maybe I'm too much a perfectionnist : I really don't like when I win a point because of my opponent's error etc.
Some of my friends say I'm too kind/shy : I don't have that killer instinct, except when I'm trailing : then I can play really great points.
Maybe I'm too much self-confident ! And when I lose some points, I just don't know what to do.

I desperately need some advice. Please ! :sad:

Thanks in advance. :wavey:

Pengwin
Jun 26th, 2005, 05:54 PM
Jouez moins vite.

daanharmsen
Jun 26th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Don`t get nervous, stare at your strings, imagine you`re just on the practice court. Get yourself some good rituals you execute before every point, always the same. Play the same game as you do on other points, try not to hit the winner too fast, be patient.

KoOlMaNsEaN
Jun 26th, 2005, 06:24 PM
Try to just focuse on one point and one play before starting the point. Like just think about where you're gonna hit the serve.

TomTennis
Jun 26th, 2005, 06:42 PM
im the same.

however i have just come to enjoy my tennis now. It is fun again.

Just think of every points as 15-0, or 15-15. Dont think about things on break and game points. Even if you say "dont go for the winner", you are still going to be consicoulsy thinking of how to win the point, which is not good because you will lose it and blame yourself.

just relax and stay calm.

Geisha
Jun 26th, 2005, 06:57 PM
My coaches always tell me that on the big points, just get your balls deep and keep forcing your opponent back. It works for me all the time...

Derek.
Jun 26th, 2005, 07:00 PM
You seem mentally weak. That's your problem. Maybe talk to someone before matches and after..:shrug:

Derek.
Jun 26th, 2005, 07:03 PM
A lot of people choke. All you need is one big win when you overcome your choking habits and you'll be fine. :) Just keep working hard.

justine&coria
Jun 27th, 2005, 08:56 AM
Thank you all for your answers.
I'm gonna get some rituals (even mental ones) before every point. I think it can help me.
And I think I needed the bad loss I had yesterday to become better.
Thanks again.

Szymanowski
Jun 27th, 2005, 09:35 AM
When my forehand's breaking down, I use 2 hands. Anythink you can do to get extra topspin on the ball, Just make sure you get it down with margin for error. And if you're playing a serve volleyer, don't try fior the big groundstroke psaa, just aim to get it down at their feet with masses of topspin. If they're too near the net, lob them!

SM
Jun 27th, 2005, 09:53 AM
i dont know

i just dont think much in tennis matches and try to think of it as if im having a practie hit. i dont think much about score or strategy...in effect i just try to play every point as tho its the same whether im up or down match point etc, and the way i think if im down 0-5 is not 'panic mode' but rather my line of thinking is 'i dont care if i lose but would like to make him work harder than he would like to to beat me'...

it works for me...and i also think about the consquences if i win/lose = pretty much nothing bc im not playing for anything no reputation no money nothing whereas my friends who play other sports a win or loss can make a big difference in w hat they earn :)!

Julia1968
Jun 27th, 2005, 10:46 AM
Let me introduce myself :
I'm a guy (I hope the admins won't tell me to put this thread at menstennisforums :devil: ).
Well, I'm a guy who almost has all the shots in tennis : great serve though I'm quite small, big forehand, bakhand, slice, quite good volleys, smash, not so bad drop shots (not la Justine but ok), good footwork etc.

When I don't play tournies, I can beat people who are ranked a lot higher than me. But, when I play in a tounament, I lose to people I should have beaten quite easily :mad: . (and how they annoy me when they say at the end, you have all the shots, you're quite good, but ...). Last time I lost to an old guy who was just making slices from both sides. :rolleyes:

First I don't think I've ever won the 1st 3 games of a match !! I've always trailed 3-0 ! :rolleyes:
Then, I start playing well , but I choke at the end of (almost) every game !! It's really boring:
- either I double-fault : I just don't feel my serve that is really good otherwise.
- or I try for the winner, I don't know why (and it's always an error).

I can have 3 aces, and then lose the game after of course having many advantages. How many games I've lost after having game/break-points ! :sad:
Many times, I've trailed 5-0, came back to 5-4 and then lost the set 6-4.

My friends keep telling me that it'll get better tournament after tournament. But the tournaments are quite expensive, and I play them just during the holidays (3 months in a year).
And every year, it's quite the same. And I'm really fed up of this.

What can I do ? :confused: I really need some advice.

I've tried to calm myself telling me not to try for the winner : then either I'm too calm and double-fault, either I try not to make an error and it's a ball that goes in the net or 20 metres out.
I've told myself : "play this point as another one !" -> it doesn't work.
I've tried to think of every thing I'm gonna do : toss the ball this way, serve there, move well etc...
I've tried to think about a song I really like :tape: . well, same result.

Maybe I'm too much a perfectionnist : I really don't like when I win a point because of my opponent's error etc.
Some of my friends say I'm too kind/shy : I don't have that killer instinct, except when I'm trailing : then I can play really great points.
Maybe I'm too much self-confident ! And when I lose some points, I just don't know what to do.

I desperately need some advice. Please ! :sad:

Thanks in advance. :wavey:

Might I suggest that you enter a local tennis league or a USTA sanctioned league (US only) which would help you to become more "match" tough for local tournaments???

You really need to let go of the negativity you've been experiencing during tournament play. Your first year or two playing adult amateur tennis tournaments is an adjustment period mentally. Its a natural progression. If you've "got game", your results will naturally improve.

First, it sounds like you show-up for a tournament match "tight". Try arriving at your tournament site a few minutes early and warm-up on court with someone before before you warm-up with your opponent before a match. make sure to eat a light breakfast and get plenty of rest the night before.

Also, it sounds like you are "thinking" too much on-court. Use your practice periods as a means of developing consistent habits on court which will help you be more consistent during tournament play. Eventually, your shots and reactions will occur automatically without having to think too much.

During your warm-up against an opponent, slyly look for weaknesses in their shots. Test their ability to hit volleys, overheads, etc.

Play YOUR game, and use the weaknesses you've exploited during warm-up to pounce on.

Get in the mental midset of jumping on your opponent early which will immediately affect his mental game. Once you've put him on the defensive, his climb uphill will be more difficult.

Its normal and natural to be a little nervous during your first match during a tournament. Positive affirmations and deep breathing can help alleviate that sort of anxiety pre-match.

FOCUS. That means keep your eye on the ball and make sure you bend your knees while hitting the ball. The first thing that happends when you begin a match "tight", is the knees don't want to bend and your feet don't want to move. Remember that.

"Don't sweat the small stuff". Don't allow yourself to mentally engage in persistent negativity on-court. Keep your head UP, bounce a lot between points to keep loose, and play the ball....never your opponent.

Oh, and about the "old men who slice a lot". Attack their weak backhands and go to the net.

Last but not least, no one in the history of tennis has EVER played a perfect match. You will never be a perfect tennis player. However, you can always strive to be the best you can be on-court.

Craigy
Jun 27th, 2005, 11:00 AM
Try and move your opponent putting topspin on the ball from side to side.
just keep getting the ball in dont go for anything, eventually your opponent will break down and hit an unforced error. And if they don't THEY ARE REALLY GOOD!!!!!!

Szymanowski
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:16 PM
Try and move your opponent putting topspin on the ball from side to side.
just keep getting the ball in dont go for anything, eventually your opponent will break down and hit an unforced error. And if they don't THEY ARE REALLY GOOD!!!!!!
i agree exactly; great advice

Craigy
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:22 PM
i agree exactly; great advice
Thank you! :D
Craig :wavey:

tennisvideos
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:56 PM
You need to work on your thoughts first and foremost and the rest will follow. Whatever you focus on will come to fruition. It is the law of creation.

Focus on choking and guess what, you will keep on choking. Instead, when you start to have the negative thought, just acknowledge the thought and 'let it go'. Simply say to yourself I don't need that thought anymore and release it. Then start thinking about playing your solid (but reliable) shots. And when you feel nervous, allow yourself to feel the nerves and then just say to yourself that you don't need that feeling anymore - and 'let it go'. You are not your thoughts and you are not your feelings - you can let them go. Simply replace them with positive thoughts and images - imagine yourself calm and relaxed. Breathe deeply in between points. Visualise your shots going in.

When you daydream about your tennis when you are not playing, visualise yourself winning these matches and playing your aggressive style but consistently.

If you can consistently change your thinking patterns you will be amazed at how your game will change. It won't happen instantly but given time the changes will follow. Remember, your thoughts create your reality.

Oh, and I almost forgot - go out and practise drills! Don't always play practise sets. Just hit with someone for an hour or two when you can. Practise down the line shots, crosscourt shots, serves, volleys, lobs, smashes etc. Get your shots grooved and your muscle memory trained. Then you will find your shots don't break down as easily when your muscled are trained to hit shots regularly.

Cheers to your success! :)

Craigy
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:03 PM
You need to work on your thoughts first and foremost and the rest will follow. Whatever you focus on will come to fruition. It is the law of creation.

Focus on choking and guess what, you will keep on choking. Instead, when you start to have the negative thought, just acknowledge the thought and 'let it go'. Simply say to yourself I don't need that thought anymore and release it. Then start thinking about playing your solid (but reliable) shots. And when you feel nervous, allow yourself to feel the nerves and then just say to yourself that you don't need that feeling anymore - and 'let it go'. You are not your thoughts and you are not your feelings - you can let them go. Simply replace them with positive thoughts and images - imagine yourself calm and relaxed. Breathe deeply in between points. Visualise your shots going in.

When you daydream about your tennis when you are not playing, visualise yourself winning these matches and playing your aggressive style but consistently.

If you can consistently change your thinking patterns you will be amazed at how your game will change. It won't happen instantly but given time the changes will follow. Remember, your thoughts create your reality.

Oh, and I almost forgot - go out and practise drills! Don't always play practise sets. Just hit with someone for an hour or two when you can. Practise down the line shots, crosscourt shots, serves, volleys, lobs, smashes etc. Get your shots grooved and your muscle memory trained. Then you will find your shots don't break down as easily when your muscled are trained to hit shots regularly.

Cheers to your success! :)
WOW!!! you sound like some phsycologist! :worship:

tennisvideos
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:16 PM
WOW!!! you sound like some phsycologist! :worship:

No, but it's how I taught myself to play tennis. I started at 17 and have had lots of success without ever being coached. (not on the pro circuit but high Grade in Sydney).

BTW, your advice was great - to try topspin and move your opponent from side to side! Puts the pressure on the other guy. :)

SM
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:18 PM
wow craig thats deep, and very true. even at the level i play ie.local comps, tennis can be very tough mentally and moreso than other sports ive played competitively (ive played a few)...

tennisvideos
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:24 PM
wow craig thats deep, and very true. even at the level i play ie.local comps, tennis can be very tough mentally and moreso than other sports ive played competitively (ive played a few)...

You are right there SM! Tennis is an incredibly mental game - doesn't matter how good your shots are, if you mind is fragile your whole game can (and most likely will) collapse when the pressure is applied.

Look at Hewitt - not equipped with as many physical tools as many of the other pros, but the power of his mind, his self belief and will power have taken him to incredible levels. And then you see someone as talented as Safin who can crumble when the blowtorch is applied. Although thank heavens sometimes he can live up to his talent eg. Aussie Open this year - as I am a big fan of his.

K-Dog
Jun 27th, 2005, 02:39 PM
Let me introduce myself :
I'm a guy (I hope the admins won't tell me to put this thread at menstennisforums :devil: ).
Well, I'm a guy who almost has all the shots in tennis : great serve though I'm quite small, big forehand, bakhand, slice, quite good volleys, smash, not so bad drop shots (not la Justine but ok), good footwork etc.

When I don't play tournies, I can beat people who are ranked a lot higher than me. But, when I play in a tounament, I lose to people I should have beaten quite easily :mad: . (and how they annoy me when they say at the end, you have all the shots, you're quite good, but ...). Last time I lost to an old guy who was just making slices from both sides. :rolleyes:

First I don't think I've ever won the 1st 3 games of a match !! I've always trailed 3-0 ! :rolleyes:
Then, I start playing well , but I choke at the end of (almost) every game !! It's really boring:
- either I double-fault : I just don't feel my serve that is really good otherwise.
- or I try for the winner, I don't know why (and it's always an error).

I can have 3 aces, and then lose the game after of course having many advantages. How many games I've lost after having game/break-points ! :sad:
Many times, I've trailed 5-0, came back to 5-4 and then lost the set 6-4.

My friends keep telling me that it'll get better tournament after tournament. But the tournaments are quite expensive, and I play them just during the holidays (3 months in a year).
And every year, it's quite the same. And I'm really fed up of this.

What can I do ? :confused: I really need some advice.

I've tried to calm myself telling me not to try for the winner : then either I'm too calm and double-fault, either I try not to make an error and it's a ball that goes in the net or 20 metres out.
I've told myself : "play this point as another one !" -> it doesn't work.
I've tried to think of every thing I'm gonna do : toss the ball this way, serve there, move well etc...
I've tried to think about a song I really like :tape: . well, same result.

Maybe I'm too much a perfectionnist : I really don't like when I win a point because of my opponent's error etc.
Some of my friends say I'm too kind/shy : I don't have that <a style='text-decoration: none; border-bottom: 3px double;' href="http://www.serverlogic3.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=24&k=killer%20instinct" onmouseover="window.status='killer instinct'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">killer instinct</a>, except when I'm trailing : then I can play really great points.
Maybe I'm too much self-confident ! And when I lose some points, I just don't know what to do.

I desperately need some advice. Please ! :sad:

Thanks in advance. :wavey:


I used to be just like you. I had all the power, and the big serves and stuff; when I played matches I would played "not to lose" or play sloppy if I tried to play my game. This year was an awakening for me. I watched a lot of Maria matches through the year (I don't like her still, but..) and i kind of copied her style between points. Taking my time in between points, fixing my strings, saying quietly "come on" after a good point, and only giving myself postive energy. For me, this worked a great deal. I am a perfectionist to the "enth" degree. This summer I am trying to keep the same attitude, but work on being more risky and more aggresive. I changed my forehand swing to resemble more of Davenport's (which is hard at first and I get a lot of crap since I am a guy).

Try to stay postive and tell yourself that aren't going to lose this point and even if you do, big deal!! Try harder on the next point. Aim for spots on the court, don't just hit the ball!! Really visualize your target and move your feet into position to hit the ball where you want to!! That's all I can say!! Maybe be more careful on the early points in the game as well, and as the game progresses, and you have leads, go for your shots. It sounds like you have a bit of the "Venus-syndrome" going on. Be more positive with the fact that you are as good as you are!!

K-Dog
Jun 27th, 2005, 02:44 PM
Might I suggest that you enter a local tennis league or a USTA sanctioned league (US only) which would help you to become more "match" tough for local tournaments???

You really need to let go of the negativity you've been experiencing during tournament play. Your first year or two playing adult amateur tennis tournaments is an adjustment period mentally. Its a natural progression. If you've "got game", your results will naturally improve.

First, it sounds like you show-up for a tournament match "tight". Try arriving at your tournament site a few minutes early and warm-up on court with someone before before you warm-up with your opponent before a match. make sure to eat a light breakfast and get plenty of rest the night before.

Also, it sounds like you are "thinking" too much on-court. Use your practice periods as a means of developing consistent habits on court which will help you be more consistent during tournament play. Eventually, your shots and reactions will occur automatically without having to think too much.

During your warm-up against an opponent, slyly look for weaknesses in their shots. Test their ability to hit volleys, overheads, etc.

Play YOUR game, and use the weaknesses you've exploited during warm-up to pounce on.

Get in the mental midset of jumping on your opponent early which will immediately affect his mental game. Once you've put him on the defensive, his climb uphill will be more difficult.

Its normal and natural to be a little nervous during your first match during a tournament. Positive affirmations and deep breathing can help alleviate that sort of anxiety pre-match.

FOCUS. That means keep your eye on the ball and make sure you bend your knees while hitting the ball. The first thing that happends when you begin a match "tight", is the knees don't want to bend and your feet don't want to move. Remember that.

"Don't sweat the small stuff". Don't allow yourself to mentally engage in persistent negativity on-court. Keep your head UP, bounce a lot between points to keep loose, and play the ball....never your opponent.

Oh, and about the "old men who slice a lot". Attack their weak backhands and go to the net.

Last but not least, no one in the history of tennis has EVER played a perfect match. You will never be a perfect tennis player. However, you can always strive to be the best you can be on-court.


This will be the first time I ever agree with you Julia, but all this is GREAT advice! I would also add, in the warm-ups, play more rally shots with them, but then after a little bit, hit a match shot at them!! Do it to both sides (fore and backhands) and see which side handles it better!! You can tell a weakness immediately!!

"Sluggy"
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:26 PM
come on over to the west Banlieu, we can hit and i give my analyse

justine&coria
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:07 PM
Thank you all once again for taking time answering me. :worship:
Reading you, I feel more confident. Maybe being supersticious is good when you play tennis : you always do the same thing etc !!! But I'm not supersticious : maybe it's gonna come. :o
And the advice you're giving me help me think of what I do during training matches and I don't do in a tournament.
For example K-Dog, you made me realise that I don't aim for spots on the court. When playing a friend, I really do this : I aim somewhere not too close to the line (for safety), but I aim a spot. When I'm in a tourny, I just don't do it. I tell myself have a cross-court forehand, a down-the-line one, and it often goes wide or in the net. That's one thing I have to think about.
I'm gonna try (almost) every thing you told me, and I'm sure it's gonna help me.
I have a tourny next week, and I'm really waiting for it.

And Julia1968, wow ! Though you really like Justine, I never thought I would thank you for a great post !! :eek: . Thank you too. :)