December 3, 2017
Ever play a match where your opponent can’t miss? I have and it often seems like you’re helpless in doing anything about it. This is often not the case as I would like to discuss two big factors that you have somewhat control of that could get your opponent from playing so well. Let’s take a look.
The First Element: Your Opponent Doesn’t Fear You
When I say “fear,” I’m not suggesting you need to intimidate your opponent. Rather I am referring to your ability to do two things. Hit the ball deep and punish the short ball. These both relate to the ability to put pressure on your opponent. For example, if you are constantly giving weak balls to your opponent, they know they don’t have to be too risky with their shot selection due to the fact that no matter what they do, you will not be putting pressure on them to hit anything special. Basically they feel in control of the point. I have been on both sides of this situation. When an opponent doesn’t pressure me I make sure to be patient with my shots and wait for the opportunity to hit into the open court before being aggressive. The opposite situation is where my opponent is not feeling pressure from my regular shots so I find myself trying to go for more than I normally would to put pressure on my opponent. As you can guess, that doesn't end well for me.
The other factor is the most important one to look at. It relates to your ability to punish a short ball. If you cannot take advantage of this, your opponent will feel that they have a lot of margin of error on their strokes. On the other hand, if your opponent knows they will most likely lose the point if they hit it short, you will see a lot more unforced errors as they are constantly putting pressure on themselves to hitting the ball deep.
The Second Element: Getting Your Opponent Back Into Their Mind
It’s often called “playing out of your mind” when you play really well at something. When