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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #796
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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Originally Posted by stromatolite View Post
Yeah, the DFs were painful for sure, but today at least I think that was entirely due to nerves. By the end of the match I had the feeling that Sam’s arms and legs had pretty much turned to jelly. Not sure a serving coach can help her with that. But in general you’re right: for somebody who serves with as much topspin as Sam does, she hits way too many DFs.
My message to Dave is that they need to work on something, anything, that Sam can rely on and go to when she is choking. Like that one 'silver lining shot' or serve that she can depend on without having to think about, even in the midst of a massive choke. It's hard for me to explain this, but the problem is not all in the head. If she is beginning to get shaky and chokey, there should be a safety net for her to go to, i.e. "Ok, I'm nervous and choking and I'm probably going to lose but I can still place a really mean serve right into her body without overthinking it."

I know I'm asking for a lot, and hitting big serves like she does lends itself to more DF's naturally. But she needs a consistent, solid serve that won't crumble at key points during a match.

On a different note, fuck facebook. And twitter.

Oh - and my thoughts about 'weak minds' = choking. Weak minded people don't choke nearly as much as 'strong minded' people. In my opinion, weak-minded people don't maintain a clear perception of reality at all times and are often pleasantly aloof, walking through life with mostly no worries because things just seem to go in their favor (not really, but when you have a small window of perception, expectations are low). Strong minded people have hard and specific goals, crystal clear situational awareness, and a focus or drive to move in a certain direction. They think way too much about everything. So I don't like it when people claim that Sam chokes because she is weak-minded.

Last edited by Sinclair : Jan 16th, 2013 at 11:54 AM.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 11:53 AM   #797
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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My message to Dave is that they need to work on something, anything, that Sam can rely on and go to when she is choking. Like that one 'silver lining shot' or serve that she can depend on without having to think about, even in the midst of a massive choke. It's hard for me to explain this, but the problem is not all in the head. If she is beginning to get shaky and chokey, there should be a safety net for her to go to, i.e. "Ok, I'm nervous and choking and I'm probably going to lose but I can still place a really mean serve right into her body without overthinking it."

I know I'm asking for a lot, and hitting big serves like she does lends itself to more DF's naturally. But she needs a consistent, solid serve that won't crumble at key points during a match.

On a different note, fuck facebook. And twitter.
I take your point, but I think it's easier said than done. Even when she's choking she needs to be able to serve with penetration and variety, otherwise her opponent will just see it coming and cream it.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:42 PM   #798
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Re: ...HardCourt II

I think OCC has its merits as well - also everyone else bar Serena and Venus (who are one of the GOATs)is using it so Sam might as well. If only to give her some minor pointers of things to tweak and to get her refocus on strategy and her shots when she isn't thinking straight.
As I said previously, Sam didn't seem to like it when Dave tried to give her advice during one of the more tense change of ends during the Fed Cup time with Germany when she was struggling. She did seem to play better after that I am not sure if its just a coincidence or whether Dave's presence and input make the difference. Anyway, Sam seem to have made up her mind re OCC so I dont think we will see her trying this anytime soon.

To keep things really simply and to the core - Sam should meditate during change of ends!

Joking aside,I hope she can find a way to somehow try to keep things simple upstairs and not let "crazy things start popping into your head" cripple her time after time. This quote from her summed up the last few games aptly:

"you start not wanting to miss rather than wanting to, you know, make the winner."

We all know that this is not the way Sam wins her matches especially against someone like Zheng. I remember watching USO documentary produced by Fox Sports Australia and her saying her mentality going into the USO final was "if there was a shot to hit, I want to hit it and not leave anything behind". She just needs a ritual that allows her to reconnect with these messages and replay this over and over in her mind. Maybe she should have a small notebook in her bag with some of these catch phrases so she can just look at these at changeovers to 'remind' her brain its that simple don't over complicate things!

Suppose this year, the lack of practice time meant that she probably isn't as secure or confident enough to "back herself" and go for the shots she wants yet. Guess we will see it goes after a few more matches.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:46 PM   #799
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Not good enough, not too much more can be said that's already been said. watched the 3rd set in the members lounge, pretty sure I wanted to break every single chair in that place
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 01:07 PM   #800
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Re: ...HardCourt II

^Yeah, I'm pretty sure Sam would agree with your assessment that today was not good enough. Unfortunately agreeing with that doesn't make it less likely to happen again in the future. It's not as if she didn't try hard enough, or tried to play badly. And it's not as if Sam hasn't dug really deep trying to find a way to deal with her mental demons.

If there was an easy solution to the problem I'm sure Sam would have applied it by now. Hell, even if there was a really hard and painful solution I'm pretty sure she would do whatever needed to be done.

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She just needs a ritual that allows her to reconnect with these messages and replay this over and over in her mind. Maybe she should have a small notebook in her bag with some of these catch phrases so she can just look at these at changeovers to 'remind' her brain its that simple don't over complicate things!
Something like this might possibly work. I think she needs more than anything else to have somehwere else to send her thoughts when things start to go wrong, other than the hellish downward spiral that she gets into when she's just left with her own thoughts. That's why OCC might help I think, just to snap her out of her negative mindset.

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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #801
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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If there was an easy solution to the problem I'm sure Sam would have applied it by now. Hell, even if there was a really hard and painful solution I'm pretty sure she would do whatever needed to be done.
Thats what makes the lead up to the AO even more annoying. All these opinions left right and centre. Its like they think Sam hasnt tried anything or doesnt know what she needs to do. Knowing it and applying it are different things.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 02:21 PM   #802
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Annetcl -- I agree. I'm a big fan of "the ritual." It is a process...a moment to reset and focus on the present. Sharapova does it between every point, and it works. It gives her a chance to feel the emotion of the last point, let it go (i.e. turning your back to the net or what have you), then focus only on the present (playing with the racquet strings or something like that) to place the mind back into the immediate moment.

Doing a ritual like this between games and changes of ends is also very helpful.

Huntress - this is what makes it even harder to deal with. A lot of these so-called helpful opinions seem like a tutorial on how to win a tennis match. As if Sam and Dave don't have a clue about what's going on out there. And I definitely put myself into the same 'know it all' category at times because I get so frustrated with the downward spiral and forget that they are well aware of the demons. Sheesh - I'm still kind of shell-shocked from feeling so optimistic for those few games that she dominated, then having the bottom drop out from under her feet.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 08:05 PM   #803
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Re: ...HardCourt II

For Sinclair: Sam's Facebook page has been cleaned up from hating comments. B.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #804
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Re: ...HardCourt II

I'm very sorry for Sam. I couldn't watch the match and it's sad to hear that Sam choked but I wonder how her opponent played. When less succesful players play against top10 they usually lose even if they start the match very well. At the end of the day they are so excited that they can win the match, that they get nervous and start making many errors. After a few unexpected losses the problem Sam faces is that weaker players are not intimidated at all and they fight to the end. And unfortunetely the more such matches Sam loses the truer that statement is.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 10:46 PM   #805
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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Dave Taylor -- I have something to say to you.

Fix those motherfucking double faults right fucking now. I don't care if you have to hire every motherfucking serving coach on the fucking planet, just fix that fucking shit. At least 3 times in today's match, a double fault changed the whole outcome of the game and finally cost Sam the match.

I can accept occasional groundstrokes errors. I can even deal with the fucking 2-handed BH. But please, Dave, for the love of god, figure out what is going on with that fucking first serve, and FIX THAT FUCKING SHIT. Dammit. Sam's game begins with that fucking serve. When it falls apart, her whole game falls apart. Please, man, fix it.

That is all.
Maybe Sam needs a bit of tough love like this. Not sure if DT is able to provide it. Pay some $ to spend a few weeks with Ivan Lendl.

The ball toss has been altered I believe. She's lowered the toss a little, therefore a number are slapped into the net. Why I wonder?

However the backhand is an issue. There is barely a woman on tour that doesn't have a strong backhand that they can rely on. It needs work badly.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #806
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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I'm very sorry for Sam. I couldn't watch the match and it's sad to hear that Sam choked but I wonder how her opponent played. When less succesful players play against top10 they usually lose even if they start the match very well. At the end of the day they are so excited that they can win the match, that they get nervous and start making many errors. After a few unexpected losses the problem Sam faces is that weaker players are not intimidated at all and they fight to the end. And unfortunetely the more such matches Sam loses the truer that statement is.
Yeah, I think pretty much everyone on tour sees playing Sam in Australia as their golden opportunity for a top ten win. And you're right, every time she loses a match like this she reinforces the self-belief in her opponents.

The sad thing is, I think Sam played a lot better yesterday than she did in Sydney, and I think Zheng probably played a bit worse. But there was still basically the same result
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 04:04 AM   #807
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Goersur beat the sixteenth seeds, Hantuchova and Medina-Garrigues, 63 61
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 04:32 AM   #808
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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Goersur beat the sixteenth seeds, Hantuchova and Medina-Garrigues, 63 61
Yeah! Was so nice to see her smiling again - thought she played better and better as the match went on, towards the end, she was the star on the court. Her first serves are still not firing consistently though - too many not even making across the net - like she is not reaching up enough for her first serves. Definitely need to serve better in the next round. Gools look like she was going to melt out there - the heat looked brutal. The interview at the end was nice - Gools referred to Sam as a grand slam champion twice....awwwww.....lots of respect between the two - nice to see.

She is also playing mixed with Luke Saville - first match against the third seeds though - so dont expect much that other then another 'practice session" in a competitive environment.

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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 04:39 AM   #809
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Re: ...HardCourt II

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I'm very sorry for Sam. I couldn't watch the match and it's sad to hear that Sam choked but I wonder how her opponent played. When less succesful players play against top10 they usually lose even if they start the match very well. At the end of the day they are so excited that they can win the match, that they get nervous and start making many errors. After a few unexpected losses the problem Sam faces is that weaker players are not intimidated at all and they fight to the end. And unfortunetely the more such matches Sam loses the truer that statement is.
I really fell Sam is relatively playing better Vs. Top 10 players than Vs. the other players.
Her game and mind is relatively not intimidated Vs. Top 10 players, even if she is the favorite. And she is still a top 10 player despite those "bumps".
The Sam logic is sometimes hard to find.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 05:23 AM   #810
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Re: ...HardCourt II

Nice doubles win
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