Have you ever thought “I’m playing so well in training, but when it comes to games, I can’t play my game”?
In fact, this is one of the comments I’ve heard most often in my coaching career.
Players who tell me: I’m great in training but I suck in games.
Many players struggle when it is time to play.
Is this the case for you?
Why do we play better in training than in a match?
It’s not about tennis, it’s about competing.
Regardless of the level, there will always be more pressure in a match than on the training ground. You have to face this pressure and focus on what you need to do to be successful.
I will share with you 3 tips to improve your gaming skills:
Tip 1: play more games
The more games you play, the better you can handle the pressure and the less nervous you will become. To reduce the amount of stress, you need to be in the situation as often as possible. I also noticed that when players feel a lot of pressure because they want to win at all costs, if, on the other hand, they know there will be lots of other games (because they are planned), it lowers that pressure.
How often do you play training matches?
Let’s make sure every training session some time for matches, or at least some points (it can be a tie-break, a super tie-break …).
Bonus: You put even more pressure on yourself
Take a partner who is weaker than you, play a set and decide in advance the score you would like to finish the game with, so that the pressure is on you.
Other tricks to be under pressure: instead of starting 0-0, start 0-30 on service and 15-0 on return. If you can learn how to deal with pressure situations during training, it will result in match play.
Tip 2: Focus on goals that are entirely up to you
When you play a game, what do you focus on? Most players want to win so much that they focus on the result: winning. The problem is, the score isn’t up to you. The score depends on the opponent and your ability to execute the right patterns well. Winning is not a goal. It is a result.
The goal is to focus on what you want to achieve. Think about your shots, think about your best patterns and decide what you want to achieve. It can be things like catching the ball early, opening the court a certain way, hitting the net, etc. Then we will see the result later. If you think about the result during the match, you will lose sight of the things you should do to achieve the result.
Tip 3: prepare a game plan
I always say that preparation is the key. Matches are often won in the locker room. And it is true.
Before the game, take some time to sit down with your manager or yourself and establish a game plan. Do you do this before every game? The game plan should include your best schemes, but also your opponent’s weaknesses. By focusing on your greatest strengths and your opponent’s weaknesses, you will open up a wide range of opportunities.
Bonus: Bring a Notebook It’s easy to get overwhelmed during a game. One thing you can do is bring a note on the pitch. Write down 3-5 things you will focus on during the game.
Implement these 3 secrets (not so secret) and you will see a big difference in the competition. Until the next time,