You look to the other side of the court in the warm-up and assess your opponent. Forehand looks fine. Backhand seems solid. They don’t seem to be moving too fast so maybe you can form a strategy around running them side-to-side.
Here are some questions for you…
Do they have a better read on your game? Is your opponent analyzing all of your shots and formulating a brilliant game plan from what you are showing them? Is there something you don’t know that you should be scared about?
The likely answer to those very important questions is no. Your opponent is in the same boat as you, not really knowing what they are going to do strategically in the match. We tend to have a bad habit of assuming our opponent has uncovered all of our nasty habits, all of our weaknesses, and will dissect them one-by-one once the match begins. It’s normally not so.
Watch the following 73-second video to get an idea of how the new tennis course, Getting Tight, puts things into perspective in this area. Jeff Greenwald reacts to Francisco Clavet’s match analysis from their National 40’s semi-final in La Jolla, California, in December 2019.
Getting Tight Video: Opponent Analysis
- I can confidently assume that your mind is very active and sometimes entertains ideas that are not helpful and maybe even hurtful.
- Perhaps you think of the worst-case scenario if you lose the match, imagining what your peers might say if you win or lose.
- You may get caught in the terrible web of “shoulds” – I should beat him/her – or you simply discount your own game and success on a given day.
- These are just a few of the mental “traps” you might find yourself in.
- When you find yourself thinking negatively, which is usually related to the past or future and not the present, practice bringing your mind back to the moment.
- Try to feel your feet on the ground, the shower on your back or the seat you’re sitting in.
- Gratitude for the opportunity to play, genuinely appreciating the moment, can help dramatically to put you back into a better state of mind.
- The universal experience in life and in tennis is uncertainty.
- Uncertainty of how you will play, how you will feel, and what the outcome will be.
- This is the same for every player, and with the mastery mindset you are developing in this course – one that pulls the mental/emotional aspect together with your tactics – you will reduce that uncertainty.
- Understand that all players will experience some anxiety and doubts.
- They may be just as scared of you as you are of them. Embrace uncertainty, turn it into a challenge and a feeling of excitement to compete and you will find yourself playing at an entirely new level.
When you’re playing a good player, perhaps someone ranked higher than you, the first thought you might have is how your opponent has a clear tactic against you.
You believe they are going to pick at your weaker side.
Since you know your own tendencies and weaknesses, it is easy to fixate on what you don’t do well enough and make the assumption that your opponent will exploit that.
Remember, they are probably caught up in their own internal drama and don’t have much of a plan at all.
All the best,