Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mental Toughness Tip: Don't choke!

Dallas Aleman | Towpath Tennis Owner | Tennis Guru

Two weeks ago we witnessed an exciting final at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami between Andy Murray and David Ferrer. What was intriguing to me was Ferrer being edged out in a brutal 3 set match and final tie-break win by Murray. Ferrer is normally such a pitbull on the court but he made a critical error when trying to close out the match to win the title. On match point Ferrer made the fatal mistake of playing not to lose versus playing to win. A ball landed close to the line and when no call was made, Ferrer stopped play to have hawk eye verify his claim that the ball was out. Well guess what-he blew it! It's not like the ball was clearly in (it was actually in by the smallest margin), but he lost the point and eventually the match.

The point is that if you play to win, you do not hope for your opponent's ball to go out. Anything that comes to you that is obviously not out, you go for it! This is especially true on balls that you are coming forward on and are meant to be your opponent's passing shots. "He who hesistates is lost." This is so true in tennis and in life. Players that are winners go for any and all balls. You want to hit the ball, you want to force the unforced error. If you hesitate you are putting your destiny in your opponent's hands, but if you go down swinging then you will always have a greater chance of getting the win. You may lose a point occasionally, but it won't be for having the wrong attitude. Playing to win means you play to be the last one to hit the ball. David Ferrer wished that he would have hit that ball and maybe he would have won the match.

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