Developing a Winning Game Plan
Elena Dementieva’s success at the Rogers Cup in Toronto hadn’t been great – until now. Dementieva hadn’t made it past the second round (besides her semi final loss in 2003) since playing on the professional tour. Putting her record aside, Dementieva was able to come out with a win against Sharapova, 6-4, 6-3.
Dementieva almost let the first set slip away with a 4-1 lead, where she was broken twice. Dementieva broke back to take the lead and the set 6-4.
“Sometimes you have to find a winning way when something goes wrong, and that’s what happened today. I was not playing at my best, but I was able to find a winning way.”
When something goes wrong, some players panic, lose confidence, or fix their stroke or fold under pressure.
What can go wrong during a match?
You might have a string of unforced errors on your backhand side. You might think your opponent made a bad line call. You might have trouble executing your game plan for the match. No matter what goes wrong in a match, you can make adjustments, or find a winning way.
How can you find a winning way?
You do what you have to win. You might play inside the baseline and take the ball early. You might find that you’re winning points on your slice backhand. Whatever your strategy is, stay committed to it! You’ll have to make adjustments to your game to get the job done.
Dementieva made some adjustments to her game:
“I just feel I played a huge day. I was fighting for every point, so many long rallies. It was not the way I like to play – it was a more defensive game today – but against her, it’s very hard to be aggressive because she puts a lot of pressure on the first two shots, so you need to work on defense before you have your chances to go for your shots,” said Dementieva.
Your tennis psychology tip today
Have a plan b (and c). You’re not going to be on your game each time.
Your ability to make adjustments and grind out when you’re not playing your best can help you come out with a win. Once you find a way to win, stick to your game plan and let the rest take care of itself.
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Six Unforced ‘Mental Game’ Errors Tennis Players Make Between Points
- How your mind can be your best or worst asset on the court.
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“Maggie had such a great weekend. As always, after she works with you she just seems more grounded and focused. She’s less likely to look around and get distracted during her match. She’s more focused on one point at a time. Also, as a parent, I’ve learned to encourage her process goals and not outcomes. Consequently, she played well and won her first doubles match, upsetting a seeded team in a really really close match!”
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