softer, mental conditioning

I remember reading about the first Fischer-Spassky chess match and scoffing at the idea that you had to be a well-conditioned athlete to play a chess tournament. Then I played in a chess tournament. I have never been so exhausted in my life as I was after playing five matches in two days. Mental exhaustion far outweighs any physical exhaustion I’ve ever experienced.

I say this because I think a large part of tennis is mental. It could be the match I played on Saturday, the birthday party after the match, the street fair after the party, then rolling around on the floor till all hours of the night with my girlfriend, but I’m tired. I think I’m losing my stroke in the middle of the match because I’m not in good enough condition to keep mentally sharp throughout a match so I reinstituted sprints after practice and matches.

Consider Matt Emmons in the rifle competition at the Olympics yesterday. He only had to shoot an 8 out of a possible 10 on the last target. He shot an 8.1 but he made a huge mental mistake and shot at the wrong target. No medal.

Practice and Competition Report: practiced and played just over two sets: 6-3, 2-6, 2-3
Solutions Analysis:
1. Looking for solution to losing my serve in the middle of a match. I have to return to paying attention technique when I serve instead of thinking about where I want the ball to go. The stroke is not automatic yet.
2. There is always a temptation to try and rocket those passing shots past your opponent. A softer well placed shot is likely much more successful more of the time.
3. Here we go again, an approach shot is a stationary shot. The idea is to come to a stop somewhere near the ball, hit the shot and only then run into the net.
4. On a high bouncing shot, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the ball as if it was an overhead.