I’m sure we have all experienced having a great practice session only to find ourselves in a match struggling with the very same shots we hit well in practice.
Even though you have executed these shots successfully in practice, it is a whole different world when you are trying to win a match. Your mind tends to go to, "how can I win this point or game or set or match?", rather than staying in the moment and focusing on the basics: watch the ball, start the point well with a good serve or return, using your crosscourts, and keep expecting the ball to come back. This sounds very obvious but it is a battle during a match to get these things to be your priority.
Since I am a big fan of many of Michael Jordan's quotes, use this concept to help get the right thoughts in your head:
"Practice like you've never won. Play like you've never lost".
It is so important to allow your body to do what it is capable of doing by keeping the thoughts in your mind simple and believing that you will be successful.
Keep practicing the thoughts above and your practice and match play will improve and become more similar.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at email@example.com