The well known tennis coach from New Zealand, Tony Wilding once said “Never relax for one moment, no matter what the score.”
This obviously is a lot easier to say than actually do. In all sports after a period of constant pressure, people let down. And unless another action packed emergency comes along nothing can stop the let down.
When tennis players play, there is a let down after most points, sets and games, it is human nature. The greater the pressure, the bigger the subsequent letdown. You should learn to combat letdowns, enhance and exploit them in your opponents.
Recognise The Opportunity
Some important points are played during these letdowns, it is important that you learn to recognise when your opponent is going through one and capitalize on it. You can’t be intensely focused on the outcome of a game or set that is just starting, so focus on short term goals.
Since letdowns tend to happen for both players at the beginning of a new game or set, this is the time to strike. Start off positively and seize the opportunity, get in the habit to start every set with the goal of getting up two-games-to-love. If you can manage to do this, then you stave off any change of momentum.
Capitalise On Your Opponents Letdown
You will be surprised how often you can catch an opponent napping at the start of a match, this is the time to capitalize on it and to secure a lead. You can be two points off before they get serious about the match.
If playing doubles your partner takes a mental breather, then this is the time to encourage them. It is exactly the same playing singles, realise your mental condition at all times and spur yourself on.
Awareness At All Times
Your awareness of letdowns might even influence your tactics. Make your opponent make unforced errors during these times. So, you might use tactics that reduce your likelihood of making errors and concentrate on exploiting theirs.
This is tactics not strategy, your tactics are the individual shot selections and maneuvering. It may be the case an opponent sprays a loose forehands all over a letdown, you can pad your odds by playing percentage tennis.
Never change a winning strategy, if you are winning by playing say a serve-and-volley game, don’t change for a moment, no matter what the score.
Keep in mind that because winning increases the sense of relief, winning a game or set increases the tendency to letdown. And the greater the pressure, the bigger the subsequent letdown. Combat letdowns within yourself and enhance and exploit them in others, also a good idea is to talk about this with your tennis coach.