Ten Things To Do If A Match Is Not Going Your Way

Here are 10 things to consider in case you are faced with the situation of losing (however improbable).

  1. Develop a plan or strategy. Too many times players approach a match and play out the beginning (or the entire length) of a match without a strategy of how to capitalize on strengths and exploit weaknesses. If things weren’t clear at the beginning (as to how to approach each point and game), take time during the next changeover to collect yourself, assess the situation and then draw up a strategy or plan.
  2. Stick to your game plan. Maintain your plan if you feel the result has more to do with your execution or if you sincerely believe it is a matter of time before you can break down your opponent and reverse the outcome of the match. Sometimes a steady course is the best approach.
  3. Change your game plan. Fall back on other contingency options (hopefully already spelled out and rehearsed before the start of the match) if prospects are looking bleak. The question is always when and how to best to make a change.
  4. Be steady. If nothing else works, keep the ball in play. Be patient and consistent and hit with a high margin (cross court and high net clearance). Sometimes this is all it takes to get back into a match. The worst alternative is to hit outside of your capabilities. Going for too much and forcing your shots generally leads to more mistakes and a quicker demise.
  5. Mix it up. As mentioned the previous month, mix things up to take your opponent out of his/her rhythm. Change the spin, depth, height, pace and/or direction of your shots.
  6. Change the tempo. Take more or less time between points particularly when you are serving and can better control the pace of play. Judiciously take towel breaks. Bounce the ball more or less times prior to start of each serve.
  7. Look for and take advantage of opportunities to change the momentum. There are “tipping points” or moments in all matches that can trigger a momentum shift. It could be a game in which your opponent is struggling with his/her serve. It could be a fortunate (or unfortunate for your opponent) errant bounce. To get back into a match, it is important to recognize and take advantage of these situations.
  8. Hang in there. Redouble your efforts and focus. Maintain a positive frame of mind. Good things happen when you work hard and stay positive.
  9. Maintain mental notes of what’s working and what’s not working so next time (or next match) you’re better equipped to handle adversity and reverse a negative outcome.
  10. Have fun. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but enjoy the process of competing and testing your skills.

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