- Fitness & Mental Toughness
most cases, the player who wins the most points
ends up winning the match. There are a few times,
usually when set scores are lopsided, that the player
with the most points ends up losing, but those matches
are few and far between. Of course, while it sounds
simple - just win more points than your opponent
to win your match - sometimes my players think that
its better to go for screaming winners to
gain points. It is a satisfying feeling to smack
the ball very hard, but it often leads to erratic,
unreliable play. To get them back on track, I tell
them to think like a boxer or fencer who jabs away
with little assaults and excellent footwork in order
to set up the big punches. A boxer or tennis player
who swings away wildly with no rhyme or reason usually
ends up off balance and susceptible to getting pummeled.
They get very anxious, letting nerves take away
their sense of how to control the rhythm of the
When one of my players falls into this mode, Ive
shown them to keep score a bit differently. I ask
them to try to gather points in sets of 3 in a row.
The player who collects the most sets of 3 points
in a row in a set will win it. Thinking about collecting
points restores calm thinking. If they lose a point
or two, they simply begin trying to block their
opponent from getting a set of 3. Collecting 1 point
at a time leads to confidence when they gather their
sets of 3, and takes away their fear of losing.
At grand slam junior tournaments, Ive often
asked VDM teammates to chart this way for each other
in order to get them to see how easily it works.
Try it - youll like it!