competitive schlumps, winning takes care of itself

I have been concentrating on identifying and attacking my opponents weaknesses, thank you Brad Gilbert. Today I repeatedly hit short to T.’s backhand to draw him to the net then I lobbed him and won the first set. After that, apparently, I was satisfied; I played ok the rest of the way but the fire was gone.

Michael Jordan grabbed onto the tiniest slight to get himself motivated for one of his games in the endless season that is the NBA. Make the slightest disparaging remark about one of Jordan’s teammates or, God forbid, Jordan himself, and you were likely to get your head handed to you the next time you played the Bulls and be subject to 48 minutes of non-stop trash talk on top of that.

Jordan is clearly one of the most competitive individuals walking the earth. But what about us workaday tennis schlumps? How are we supposed to maintain our competitive fire from match to match let alone point to point? Clearly I’m not an expert at this, check the scores below, but, as usual, I have a theory.

I read it all the time, “Take care of the details and winning will take care of itself,” or, “If we execute the game plan, winning will take care of itself.” After I won the first set I was so happy that I lost track of my plan to attack my opponent’s weaknesses. I had traveled off to a happy island in a parallel universe instead of paying attention to the next point. I hadn’t traveled all that far, I still hit my shots and played pretty well but it was far enough to lose my competitive edge and the next two sets. I remember Peyton Manning, my favorite football player in the world by the way, once complaining that with the fans and media it’s always, “What have you done for me lately?” But you know, that is how it is. Moment to moment there is always the next point to take care of, where am I going to hit it, what should I attack, am I hitting the ball deep enough, and so on. The victory 5 minutes ago doesn’t mean anything.

So my theory is that it might not be necessary to scour the world for the slightest hint of attack to your person, it might be enough to pay attention to each point with as much attention as is humanly possible.

Performance Analysis: practiced for an hour and a half, played 3 sets and two rally games with T.: 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 7-15, 10-15
Solutions Analysis: since T. comes in very close to the net when he approaches, I can win points by lobbing him.
Success Analysis: I finally took a set from T.! I attacked his backhand approach and hit a lot of high looping junk to his backhand. He started to run around his backhand which opened up down the line.
Injury Report: the sprained ligament in my thumb is killing me, I have to tape it up each day to hold things at bay.