The will to win by Mike VanZutphen
The will to win!
The more I teach the players in the game the greater the mental part determines performance. The common mistake I see is the shot that is tried when in trouble on the court. The player tries to hit the low percentage shot instead of the basic shot that the opponent must play. The player realizes after the shot he or she was stupid. In the heat of competition, many players attempt shots outside there abilities and continue to miss. This is a mental error by the player rather than mechanical while participating in competition. The best players hit the shots they own and use the low percentage shots seldom. The example in football is the quarterback tosses the long bomb every pass. The basketball player shoots from behind the 3pt line only. These are high-risk shots for only certain situations. The tennis player must use his head while on the run to judge the degree of risk and the best shot to take. The best players use percentage tennis by making wise decisions based on the following:
2. Court position
3. Opponent’s court position
4. Playing conditions
5. Strengths and weaknesses
6. Opponent’s strengths and weaknesses
7. Idiosyncrasies in style
8. Patterns of play
9. Body language
The mental game is commonly the challenge for the player to be aware of the challenges during the performance. The best teams today have full time coaches to watch every move for the player to detect the weaknesses or patterns of play. The tennis player must be aware of the patterns or non-verbal language of the opponent. This is a total mental characteristic. The performance of the player is reading the sign language of the player to not fall prey to the strategies and clues of direction of play. It would be a mental error to not realize the grip the player is using. It would be a mental error to not realize the weak side of the player. It would be a mental error to not see how the players moves from side to side and up and back. It would be a mental error not to see the position the player stands to serve on the baseline. It would be a mental error to not read the emotional state of the player after he or she looses a point. The correct skill for better performance is mental awareness of your opponent. The players make mistakes by not playing to the score and conditions of the environment. This last weekend my partner and I played in the Arizona Senior Open tennis tournament. The conditions were great except for the wind. The wind did not stop blowing the entire time we played. The opponents were use to this condition and use the environment to aid performance. The one player had a tremendous slice serve and would use the wind to ace me on the duece court. I knew he had the skill and stood further over to prevent the services winner, but he could still ace me. I finally stood in the double alley to cover the shot making skills of the server. The big challenge was how to cover the down the middle serve effectively. We were lucky that he was missing this shot with the same power level as the wide slice serves to the forehand. He could get in the corner without the juice he had to the wide position. This single adjustment in my return allowed us to win the match in 3 sets. The challenge for us was it took an entire set to realize the weakness. This is a mental error that must not be made so late in the game. I had not competed against this team every before and was in search of weak tactics and strategy. I was looking in the wrong place to maximize our performance. Remember it’s a mental game and your awareness will determine your adaptability.