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Friday, July 9, 2010

REFLECTIONS...percentages of success

After hitting the other night, I mentioned something to my partner upon finishing up a longer and more-difficult-than-usual rally. Upon being fed a short ball on my forehand side from his angled volley, I ran up and had to decide whether to hit a hard drive with topspin or a softer, well-placed slice. I decided on the latter and hit a winner down-the-line as a passing shot. It wasn't extremely powerful, but I carefully guided the ball past his racket into the open court. It made me think about determining what percentage of success, in a split second, I was going for. I played this shot as if the match depended on it, but in fact, we were not playing for points at all. But in my mind, I leveled high importance on winning this rally. I chose what I considered to be an 80-20 shot or maybe even a 90-10. Had I gone for the big blast, it would have looked more imposing but the likely percentage for MY game would have dropped to maybe a 60-40 chance for success. Missing the shot would not be very imposing.

What does this mean to you? We usually practice differently than we play for a variety of reasons. Just realize that, in your mind, the rally can signify anything you want it to. And the key to making the right percentage play is in the true understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses. A point won is a point won whether it hits the net cord and drops over or it knocks the racket out of your challengers hand by the sheer power of the stroke. When the game is won, no one really cares if it was pretty or ugly. Neither should you.

PRACTICE when it is practice time, and PLAY when it is time to simply apply what you learned in practice about yourself and your game.

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