Tennis Is Not About NOT Missing, It’s About Winning The Match

Tennis Is Not About NOT Missing, It’s About Winning The Match

HI! Your book is great and you have amazing tips!! Thank you so much for writing it and for sharing w/the rest of us your vast knowledge!!! You are awesome.

I have a question about mixed doubles. I am 32 and I am a very consistent player (or I was and most of the time that is what my team members always say about me and playing w/me) but I don’t have a hard shot and the greatest technique.

I guess that my “technique” had just been to get the ball back no matter what, and keep it in play.

The level that I had been playing at this actually worked ! Usually they hit it out or in the net after one or two.

Now my women’s doubles team has moved me up from playing positions 3 or 4 or 5 the lowest of the five matches to 1 or 2.

Same w/my mixed doubles team except we have just moved up in level . Long way to say my consistency is gone feeling now and what I used to do , just get the ball back, is not working.

So I am working on my shots w/a tennis pro and working on getting more strength but I also now feel, b/c of my defeats and losses , (the last two matches I played I lost and b/f that I had a pretty good history of winning most matches played) that I now feel that I am in a mental rut b/c of my last few matches losing and getting slammed in mixed by the guy when my slow ball goes over the net and he poaches and kills my partner.

I know how and can get it over the guy or around the guy but in a match once it happens once it seems my racket just keeps doing it and feeding him i just get more and more and more down and frustrated w/myself and then end of feeding him overheads basically.

I know to get it over him or away from him and i know how i just dont’ seem to be able to do it no matter how hard I think I am trying in a match after it happens once.

I have lost all confidence now in myself in general as a player and marked myself out for the rest of mixed doubles season while I practice w/the pro to improve and I have lost the enjoyment of the game too?

Can you help me? Thank you


What I suspect is going on is that you don’t want to miss. You mention your “slow ball” and feeding balls to him.

Which means you are avoiding sidelines and baseline as your target.

Here’s what you can do:

1. You need to go for riskier shots.

The game of tennis is not about NOT MISSING, it’s about finding the balance of going for your shots and winning more than you lose.

Example with numbers:

Scenario 1 – SAFE PLAY: you play the safest shot 20 times with 90% balls going in. That means that you lose only 2 points on unforced errors.

But since the ball is so safe, it’s too easy for your opponent. They make 15 points and miss 3 times for the remaining 18 points.

So they won 15+2=17 points and you won 3 points when they missed.

Scenario 2 – RISKIER PLAY: You increase the risk and make 6 unforced errors. But your shots are now so good that when they go in, you win 6 points. And you opponent wins 4 points on their shots and also make 4 mistakes.

So now you won 10 points and your opponent won 10 points.

If you just think about mistakes, you made 6 now and when you played safer you made only 2.

But no one counts mistakes. It’s whether you win the match that counts.

And winning a tennis match is a long term statistical game.

Note that if you risk too much, you’ll make too many unforced errors and not enough points.

How much risk to take?

You learn by experience. See what works and what doesn’t work.

And sometimes nothing will work because you just play a better player. 😉 Enjoy and learn.

2. Explore your feelings and thoughts that arise when you miss.

Missing can be perceived as making a mistake.

What happened in your life when you made a mistake? What happened in your childhood when you made a mistake?

Because right now you are subconsciously choosing to play it safer and not make mistakes EVEN if you lose the point or lose match. (or lose match after match after match …)

See if you can find a similar connection in your life and make it conscious.

Then you will have a choice whether you listen to that inner voice trying to protect you from mistakes – and at the same time from success, or are you going to listen to your logical mind that tells you to go for the shots