How many winners did you have in that match? This statistic is actually not a very good way to measure success in a match. In fact, less than 1% of all matches are decided by the player who hit the most winners. 99% of matches are decided by which player made the least amount of errors, but what kind? Here are the 6 ways to Win a Point?
- Unforced Error by your opponent
- Unforced Error by you
- Forced Error by your opponent
- Forced Error by you
- Winner by your opponent
- Winner by you
The most impressive and least important statistic is how many winners did you hit and how many did your opponent hit.
Most tracking Apps and data statistics will tell you how many errors you or your opponent made, but not when or which kind of error was made. But, that’s all going to change very soon with the release of my new App coming Summer 2019!
– If you want more information when this App hits the AppStore –
(Please make a note in the comments section – ‘TENNIS APP INFORMATION’)
I believe it’s critically important to distinguish between the types of errors – Unforced and Forced. An unforced error is simply an error that is made when a player is NOT under duress, either space or time pressure. A Forced Error is one that is committed under duress, space and/or time pressure. Not distinguishing between the two types of errors can leave a big gap in the interpretation of how a match was won or lost. Of the two types of errors, I believe that the most vital error to give attention to is the Forced Error.
If we take a look at the 6 ways to Win a Point, the extremes are the Unforced Error and the Winner – wedged in between those extremes is the Forced Error – the one I believe most players should focus the majority of their attention. Why is it so important to focus more to force your opponent under time and space pressure while avoiding the amount of times that you are forced into making an error? Here are a few ideas to give thought towards:
- Maintaining good court position is the #1 way to avoid being forced into making an error. Resetting after your shot to one of the 3 Centers of the Court can make the difference between receiving the next shot with balance or being forced to be Re-Active to your opponent’s shot. Side note: A player can be Pro-Active (more offensive), Active (some would say neutral, but I loathe that word because it means “disinterested and disengaged” – I prefer the word Active which means “engaged”), or Re-Active (more defensive).
- Players who focus on forcing an opponent to commit an error more often have planned the point before it began, they are more engaged in playing sequenced shot patterns rather than engaging in ISM (Isolated Shot-Making). Side Note: Isolated Shot-Making is the biggest temptation in match play, trying to end the point too quickly instead of making calculated and precise sequenced shots together.
- Only focusing on NOT making an error (unforced) is a poor way to engage in winning. If you are playing not to lose, most likely you will lose the point. It takes a lot more energy physically, mentally, and emotionally to “outlast” your opponent. It’s more efficient to be more Active in your shot response than Re-Active, and certainly projecting pressure with more Pro-Active shots towards your opponent can force more errors.
- Fear of missing is A BIG threat to winning. Remember you will lose as many points as you will win, and unless your name is Federer, Nadal, Serena, or a host of other Top 100 players in the World, you’re not good enough yet to get mad when you make an error – LET IT GO, PLAN the next point to Force Errors from your opponent, you are the 2nd most important player on the court!
- Lower level players typically will make more unforced errors than advanced players, however, this is not a better reason to place more focus on “not missing” as a player than playing more Active to force your opponent to make the error. Too many junior players are unable to manage the tension of match play because their practice is too passive and fearful. Practice the way you will play in a match, fearless and Actively pursuing to make shots that force your opponent to react under time and space pressure. Play your BIG Shots to BIG Targets, stay away from the Epic Shots close to the lines. Remember, you’re not that good yet, with playing more shots to BIG Targets, Inside Corners of the Court instead of the Outside Corners that touch lines, you’ll be on your way to being good enough one day to be upset. And when you arrive at that elite level of play, most likely you won’t react that way because you would have trained yourself to have perspective. You’ll be mentally and emotionally disciplined to win and lose while respecting yourself and your opponent.
Inside Corners of the Court (BIG Targets)
Tips for Transforming Your Practice to Win more in match play.
- Practice 2-shot sequenced patterns instead of isolated shots one after another that numb your mind by putting you in a trance to perfect a stroke.
- Develop foundational 2-shot patterns that are your “go to” patterns to set up more Pro-Active sequences (For example: Cage/Run or Run/Cage vs. Run/Run or Run/Reverse – For more detail about Play Patterns that Tell a Story, check out my book ‘7 On Court Strategies to Experience Your Play State‘.
- Keep score even when you are “drilling”, bring pressure of the score to help sharpen your focus when improving your ground strokes, serve, or volley, etc. (For example: make 2 shots in a row, score 1 point – play 15-30-40-Game, or to a specific number such as 7 or 10 points, if you miss – Coach or another player you are training with receives a point. This is a great way to have multiple players drill and raise their focus levels for a FUN and engaged competition instead of just players participating in practice.
For more information about helping your players win the matches they should and could win -> CLICK HERE !