How to Close Out Matches when Leading
Does your game become more defensive when leading?
When leading a match, we see tennis players who protect their lead. Here, you avoid missing and wait for your opponent to miss–and abandon your game plan.
Deviating from the game plan that got you in the lead causes you to overthink, lose focus. You allow your opponent to gain momentum as you protect your lead down the stretch.
Why change when things are going well?
We hear from tennis players: “I tend to change my style of play when I have a big lead. I seem to blow big leads and always let my opponent back in the match.”
You might relate to the following scenario… You dominated the first set.
You felt great. All aspects of your game clicked, and your game plan was going well. Midway through the second set, you decided to play it safe and now miss your shots.
Instead of hitting well-placed deep shots, you decided to hit shots down the middle and keep it between the lines.
After giving your opponent several easy balls in the center, your opponent hit some winners and started to climb back into the match.
You couldn’t seem to regain your form and you felt yourself becoming angry and frustrated. You felt the match slipping away from you and started to worry about losing the match and how awful that would feel…
Instead, you want to close out matches by using what was working and stay aggressive, not slam on the breaks.
When you stay focused on what is working, stay aggressive, and play one point at a time, you are more likely to finish the match strong.
Getting it Done When Leading:
Instead of protecting your lead and focusing on outcome, continue with the same tactics that helped you get into the lead.
For example, if you were going into the net often–stick with it!
If you are protecting the lead, you did not expect to be there. Or you focus too much on winning.
How will you stay on offense? One way is to close out points quickly by controlling the points.
You do this by swinging freely, not pushing down the middle. You want to take full swings and not guide or steer your shots to the target.
Need help with closing out matches? Contact us for one on one mental coaching. We work with junior to professional tennis players.
Related Tennis Psychology Articles
- How To Maintain Focus When Leading In A Match
- Helping Tennis Players who Blow a Lead
- Mindset for Closing out a Match
- Download our a FREE Tennis Psychology Report
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