How many times in a match have you thought to yourself: “why can’t I hit the same shots I hit in practice?
Believe it or not, this is the most common and one of the hardest things to overcome when playing matches.
Why is your match performance not on the same level as your practice performance?
Firstly, you have to realize what the difference between the two is, and that comes down to CARING.
When practicing, you don’t worry if you make a mistake, or miss that easy put-away volley; however, when you play a match, you care too much about making those mistakes. Every missed serve makes you more and more insecure about the next serve. All these mistakes get interpreted in a negative way.
In practice, all that happens when you miss that forehand down the line, is that you get the exact same ball and practice it again. However, in a match, you miss that shot and you’ve just gone down a break.
Simply put, there is less pressure in a practice setting:
Your ranking/rating won’t change
You won’t feel embarrassed
You won’t let anyone down.
All of these consequences are in your subconscious when you’re playing a competitive match.
At one moment or another, you will have those feelings of fear during a match.
In a nutshell the idea is to create pressure scenarios in practice
Here are a few ways to accomplish this: