One of the biggest problems I see when someone
feels the other player is better is their lack of patience.
When you are rallying on the baseline you must be patient
and wait for the right shot. I see many players trying to
hit a winner when it is not the best time. Do not let your
brain tell you that you cannot out-rally your opponent. As
soon as a player feels that they cannot keep up in the rally
they have the tendency to just go for a drop shot or big winner
from a poor court position. Usually this results in an error
or gets them in trouble from bad court positioning and timing.
You must stay in the rally and play your game. Keep the ball
in play and make your opponent beat you, do not beat yourself!
Be patient, it pays off.
One of the hardest mental challenges is
to not get mad at yourself. You have to stay focused or you
could be shaking hands at the net well before you want to.
The easiest way to stay focused is to think "point by point".
You cannot change the last point and you certainly cannot
think about who will win the game or the set. If you start
thinking ahead you lose focus of what is going on in the present.
If you play point by point it is a lot easier not to get nervous
and helps you to play better tennis.
Ever hear of self-doubt? It is a killer
on the tennis court. If you are playing someone that you feel
is better than you and you are hanging in there and set self-doubt
sets in it can be a momentum killer. If you start to think
"I am not sure how much longer I can play like this" you will
immediately fall apart. Again, thinking point by point is
key. You cannot start thinking about the outcome of the match
or even the game.
Stay positive and have fun. If you get frustrated
the better player will see this and smell the kill. Stay optimistic
and never give up. If you can keep the match close it might
be your opponent who finally cracks and gets mad allowing
you to smell the kill.
Hot and cold streaks come and go, with almost
every player. So hang in there. If you give up and not give
it your best you might not know what opportunities you may
have missed. Remember, the biggest key is to think point by
point. Any thoughts about the past or future on the tennis
court and you can kiss your chances good-bye! Give each player
you play all you have, point by point.
Luck on the Court!