Win Matches You Should Lose!
Often in tennis, the player who should win, doesn't! Why? Because certain players - even if they are playing worse than their opponents, simply know how to win.
They usually seem to manage to find a way, regardless of how they play on the day. I like to think of this as the 'X factor', that intangible quality that all champions possess, which pulls them through matches they should otherwise lose.
So how does this work? Why would the better player not always win? What is the X factor? (and how can you get it?!).
The number one quality a player can possess on court (and possessed by all those who have the X factor) is an unquenchable belief in their own ability. This belief means that, regardless of how badly a match is going, it is still possible for these players to pulll out the win. This means that at those times when they are down a set and two breaks, and on the brink of defeat - they simply refuse to give up - and refuse to lose.
This never-say-die quality often brings them through many of these matches successfully, which builds their self-confidence for future comebacks whenever they have needed it. Needless to say, they also soon gained the great reputation as "the player who simply cannot be put away" - and this begins to put fear into their opponents even before they walk onto the court.
At the beginning of their careers, Federer and Nadal would sometimes crack under extreme pressure, but then they truly developed this X factor at the highest level, where they truly believed that they can win against absolutely anyone - and they feared no-one. This is the X factor - and all the greats had it - such as Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Borg, McEnroe, Federer, Laver, Nadal, Djokovic.
It takes time to develop this level of inner belief, but once it happens, it transforms the player and creates a new aura of confidence that follows them everywhere they play.
An on-court characteristic that is helpful in developing this 'X factor' is relentlessness, which I have spoken about before. By simply never, ever giving up, you often mentally wear down your opponents until they can finally self-destruct towards the end of a tough match - causing them to make uncharacteristic errors or double faults at crucial times in the final set to hand you the match a platter.
This attitude of relentlessness helps you to set up a powerful inner mental blueprint that says "I am unstoppable". This level of belief allows you to produce your greatest shots even on break points down, allowing you to hit the lines and play without fear.
Slowly but surely, this relentlessness causes a powerful chain reaction. It turns itself into consistent results - and consistent results means eventually being seeded in most of the tournaments - and being seeded in tournaments puts fear into your opponents. Needless to say, fear from your opponents only gives you more confidence. Result? Success!
Now, this relentlessness is not just something we want you to feel on court, it is a quality we want you to display on court for the benefit of your opponent. The more your opponent can see that you simply refuse to ever get disheartened, slow up, or give up - the more disheartened they will become!
Not to mention that this powerful relentless body language give your own game a big boost as well.
So this quality not only helps you on your side of the net, it affects the other side of the net as well! (It maybe be helpful to also read my tip on body language from the archive as well - see links at bottom of this tip).
So remember that if you are ever being totally outplayed in a match, don't worry too much - it does not mean that you are necessarily going to lose! Work on developing this X-factor and you will walk off the court a winner more often, regardless of how you play.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
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