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I am angry......grrrrrrrrr.....

Published: 07 Apr 2006 - 00:21 by Viper

Updated: 14 Apr 2006 - 01:16

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I played the other day, I won in 3, but....

I failed to input the stratagies I had practiced so hard when training.

I can only put it down to match pressure, I won 3 love but I had to scramble and it seems when one is pressurised clear thought and the game plan you thought you brought into the game just dissapears ! You just revert to type and play the way you have been trying so hard to improve upon.

It is frustrating me to hell, I should have put this person away in a clinical manner and yet I did not, the problem arises when I come up agaonst a strong player, if I can not knock over a a player I am clearly better than, then I am destined to really struggle when I come up against someone as good as me or slightly better.

All advice welcome please

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From BizarreCo - 14 Apr 2006 - 01:14   -   Updated: 14 Apr 2006 - 01:16

First post time for me!

I have to say, I think I have the exact opposite problem, so between us both we can either work out a great solution - or a really useless one! Ha!

For me, playing a player that is as good or better than me, is the best time to push myself. I focus on every point and chase every ball down. My brain is constantly screaming "So! You think you're better than me! They (the crowd) think you're better than me! Well I'll show you!". I find the extra challenge pushes me forward like nothing else can. Playing a player that I know I shouldn't be able to beat forces me into a mind set where I can cause that little bit of an upset. Treat each point like a small challenge. Each time you get a point by a kill or winner, you outplayed your opponent, meaning you were better than them. If you can better than them in one point, then you can do it for two. Do it for two and you can do it for three. Keep up this mindset, and suddenly you'll find yourself with a new confidence and focus on court. It'll turn the anger and aggression in your favour and you'll seem unstopable to any mentally weaker opponent.

Now, if I could find the solution to not being in that midset against people who I think are "weaker" opponents, I'll be well away!


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From Bolgy - 10 Apr 2006 - 16:01

Aint that the truth...

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From Viper - 10 Apr 2006 - 08:10

"To be honest, it is things like that which seperate the good, the really good, and the pros."

Yes that's what worries me, I must strive to do what Dmennie and Rita said, focus on single point and what is required to win that point. It is hard to block out the rest though.

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From markinjapan - 10 Apr 2006 - 00:55

To be honest, it is things like that which seperate the good, the really good, and the pros.
If you beat him 3-0, you must be a stronger player, at least on that day. But you are right, not being able to mentally switch into a frame of mind that would see him put away in a "clinical" manner is a problem. You might enjoy sucess at a certain level, but without impecable mental skills as well, you can only go so high. Although everyone will have a bit of trouble switching into high gear against a player that is noticably weaker than they are, in a tournament you want the early games to be short and sweet.
If you are that worried about it, go see a sports pychologist. When I played badminton at a serious level, our team had access to one. Got some pretty good advice from him.

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From Viper - 08 Apr 2006 - 17:29

Thanks for all this great advice folks.

I will instigate what I can.

It also seems that the pressure exerted on ones self by the opponent in a match causes so many of ones shots to be rushed and executed under duress which in turn results in the game have little or no resemblance to what one has been doing in practice and social hits.

I hit lots and lots of balls to good length and width on the practice court but during a match it comes out as mid court and shallow cross court etc.etc.

Clearly it can be done as I have watched very good players during a very hard fast match seeming to have the time and composure to hit to length calmly.

This ability to be composed and have so much time even during high pressure matches must be the hallmark of really good players.

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From missing_poster32 - 08 Apr 2006 - 09:46   -   Updated: 08 Apr 2006 - 10:28

Don't be too hard on yourself, just try to keep it simple and concentrate on the basics. It does take time and effort to bring strategy into your game. It's hard at first because it seems like a lot to digest, even if your playing an easy match and you know you should have nailed your opponent.

In my early days of playing competition, I when out and bought a book on squash, after studying the book it still took me a fair while to implement the basics into my game. Rippa rit makes a good point about concentration, that is something that always helped me. When I would concentrate on getting the basics right, such as getting your footwork right, hitting the ball to a good length & watching the ball. This helped me no end, because I found when I lost my concentration, I would usually lose the match and be frustrated about why I lost it. If my concentration was good and I lost, I didn't feel as bad and I could pinpoint things in the game that I could have done better.


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From dmennie - 07 Apr 2006 - 07:53

Hi Viper,

"Control the controllable"......Our thoughts control our feelings; Feelings control our performance.

Putting too much emphasis on the result will push you to be angry and frustrated. The emphasis must be on the performance outcome you have picked to do-(eg I always play the first 4 balls of every rally long.)     If you do what you have set yourself to achieve the result will be yours anyway. Always reset mentally between points, use a trigger and place the thought in your head. You can only have one thought at a time so you must control the thought that you are having. This must be practiced just as swing and movement. The focus must be on the process and not the score. The result will take care of itself. This takes the pressure off you mentally and allows you to perform at your best

All the best

David M.

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From rippa rit - 07 Apr 2006 - 07:50   -   Updated: 07 Apr 2006 - 07:52

Viper You do not have this problem on your own so you should feel better now! Also, the habits you have used in the last 15 years are not going to disappear in 15 days so be patient with yourself.
  • To add insult to injury, all our bad habits will always creep back, when we least expect them,  so it is necessary to keep going over them to make sure they GO or are controlled.
  • Here is the link to our Mental Section.
  • Take your time reading through this mental stuff and try to recognise which area is the most important for you to start with.  You must try to use these skills all the time, particularly in training to ingrain the habits.
  • Just take one thing at a time.  Make a list.  Work through it. Verbalise good things.
  • Strive to get the depth of concentration.
  • Keep your mind within the four squash court walls.
  • The ability to block out other thoughts (that is a skill in itself) that mask  the actual new processes you are trying to put in place, eg when you make an unforced error, no big deal (which is really just a cue word and something for you to act positively upon), visualise what you have just done and put the corrective answer in place, ie "aim higher" or "open the racket face" or "bend your knees" and/or "take a deep breath and walk slowly".  It could be you tried a difficult shot at the wrong time. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT and do not even think any more about the negative side of the unforced error; just get on with the game as you can easily correct the problem, and that will not lose the match, though at the time it seems like it will. 
  • Always try to get your whole self engrossed in the match so it sort of functions like an orchestra.
  • Give positive re-enforcement to the good things.
  • Use the cues to attend to the things that are letting you down, eg timing out/no rhythm - hum a tune, walk slower between points, deep breath, let the arms hang loose.  Once this is automatic it will not be a drama for you, but when you have not done this before it becomes a conscious effort, so can feel a bit foreign.
  • Often just one thought will turn your game around.
About training - set some goals during the match/session that will put you under pressure,
eg "win this match in 3".  That thought is not enough in itself as there is a whole process on how you are going to do this, and it is not "tail up and head down".  So what else?
  • Prepare/stretch
  • Plan, eg get every ball back, no unforced errors, tight serves, good length.
  • Concentrate, eg deep breathing between points, take notice of the cues.
Now, what are you thinking?

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From raystrach - 07 Apr 2006 - 01:10

join the club, viper

just when I was making progress, i go backwards. it is allways 2 steps forward, one step back!

that's the thing about close competition, keepin the mind clear. this is where all this mental stuff comes in

I need a psych on hand every time I play these days. It really is appalling. it is, however, part of the struggle.

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