Monday, December 19, 2011

The Psychology of Tennis

It's been brought to my attention that a different image of me has emerged on the courts that suggest that I might not be the gentleman on the court that I envisioned myself to be! 

This came as a sort of surprise, because I have made it a point to give my opponents the benefit of close line calls, the benefit of the score when the game score has been forgotten; and in addition, I try to make the teams as competitive as possible by partnering with players others avoid, or with whom they would prefer not to play, or who might be considered the weaker player.

I will often ask a player whom I might consider a weaker player than myself, and ask them to chose the receiving side they prefer.  If I know I'm the stronger player, and they know I'm the stronger player, and they chose the backhand side, Iv'e learned a lot about their knowledge of tennis, and their knowledge of what it takes to win.

I have often invited players to play, whom I have not seen play in order that they may have a go on the courts.  I make it a point to hit [stroke the ball] with anyone who asks me to do so--at least once--with whom I have never played. 

Hey, I remember how hard it is to get a match sometimes in a new place.  Some refuse to hit with me because I don't hit everything hard like they do. 

For that reason, I often will invite those players who  I see practicing on the wall into a match, or to play,  because Ithink it's important to work at your game, and I admire those dedicated to improving their game.

However, when the gauntlet is thrown, and I'm engrossed in playing a match, my attitude might appear to change only because I have a new motivation.  I want to win!  Short of taking away my opponent's racquet, or tying his shoe laces together on the crossover, I do whatever I think will be necessary to win.

I would not deliberately attempt to hinder your stroke production in anyway.  However, I might attempt to intimidate you by standing in closer to receive your serve.  I would surely lob to you when you are facing the Sun. 

Or, I might even move my receiving position as you toss the ball to serve, just to distract your concentration. What I do will be within the rules of the game, and those rules you should know too.

If not, you can bet, if you serve a let, and don't clear the ball from your path to the court, I will try to make my return hit the ball you left on the court.

Whether playing singles or doubles,  I prefer to concentrate on my strengths, not my weaknesses; but instead the weaknesses of my opponent, such that I might take advantage of to win.  Smart tournament players will often engage their opponents into relaxing during the crossover, and disrupt their concentration.

Basic Tennis is not difficult, it's the ability to stay focused while during the heat of competition that throws you off your game.  Everybody makes errors.  Understanding when you make errors and why you are making them, and more importantly how to correct them during the match, can--if you're losing--get you back into contention.

So, with that in mind, I hope you won't be to harsh on me with my smack talking, it's just to remind you that it's just a game.  I'm only here for a short time, but I'm there having fun, and hope you are too, because the better you play, the more fun I'll have.

That's the Talk of the Town.

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