Experience is vital in Tennis!

 I hear a lot from parents that my son or daughter had a great match. There were a lot of deuces, but the score was 0/6 1/6. That difference of winning important points is huge, mostly not that the other person hits the ball differently, but about how they think about those points. Also, typically, if someone is winning 6/0 6/1, they have another level that does not show due to the score simply because it is not necessary.So, what is that makes one person perform much better under tight situations like deuces and always (most times) makes them come on top? Is it mental toughness that everyone talks about? Yes, mental toughness definitely plays a big role in that situation by keeping yourself calm and rational. Most importantly, it is your personal EXPERIENCE about those situations.

What is EXPERIENCE on the tennis court? It is a collection of thoughts and feels that you have from the past matches and were able to overcome those situation with a specific shot or a tactic. To gain that experience one has be able to experiment on the court with different shots and tactics during match situation in pressure moments. By the way, every single person has to gain his/her experience, typically just listening to someone else would not work effectively because player has to live through it. Different phases of gaining experience:

  • Dead ball execution at practice
  • Faster feeding execution at practice
  • Live ball execution at practice
  • Execution in the match
  • Execution in the match under pressure

Once a player can execute a specific shot or tactic in phase 5 that means that player owes that experience now and no-one can ever take that experience away from him/her but yourself (through unstable mindset)!

There was a great article from Toni Nadal a while back, he made Rafa serve and volley the whole match. Rafa ended up loosing an easy match by following his unkle’s instruction, but what he gained is EXPERIENCE that I am sure he reverts back to this day. Experience can be positive and negative, something that you trying to execute and something you are staying away from, and only YOU can make that call according to your abilities and mindset at the moment!