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The curse of five-setter

Published: 30 Apr 2006 - 04:16 by vitty

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 12:39

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Hi squashers,
I´d played 4 "five-setters" recently and I managed to win only one of them. Seems it´s something in my mind.In two cases I was leading 2-0, then lost 2 sets and then to tiebreaker which ended 9-10 for me. (One of the tiebreaker ended in a horrible way - I pushed my opponent into back corner with good rail, he had to play boast, I moved forward to drop but his boast ended in the perfect nick - any bounce at all. I think I don´t have to say how frustrating it was - you are playing, running, chasing for 70min and it ends just like this - ). But back to the topic - do you think that winning five-setters or tiebreakers in general is a special skill ? Can it be practised somehow ? Whenever I play crucial points I get nervous and therefore I lose the point often. Maybe some kind of mental training will help ?

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From rippa rit - 30 Apr 2006 - 13:12   -   Updated: 30 Apr 2006 - 13:26

Here is the Mental Skills link which will take a bit of time to digest.
Here is the Match Preparation link which might also help.

I think I have written an article about this but anyway briefly here is my story.
At my first Aust Champs I played the first 3 matches and was up 2 games to nill every time and lost in 5.
Yes, very frustrating.  Nobody really clicked on what was going on, except all of a sudden my head flashed into gear "you are changing your game when up 2 games, and taking the pressure off the opponent, by trying not to make any mistakes, thus letting them in".  So if that makes sense to you try to handle it like this:
  • Never change a winning game
  • If you are attacking, keep attacking
  • If you are up don't try to finish it off too quickly but stick to whatever you were doing.
  • Don't change the pace of the game if the pace you were playing worked.
Remember, your opponent being down 2 Nil will most likely change their game, if you let them, eg
  • forget about winning and just enjoy the game, so they could settle down if they have been anxious.
  • your opponent will try heaps harder as they have nothing to lose at this stage of the match.
  • they will most likely change their tactics so be ready for that change, eg if they have been playing drops, they may now lob; if they have been making errors they may now slow down a little and aim higher to keep the rallies going.
  • if they are fitter, they should keep the rallies going so fitness becomes part of the plan too.
Take your time, deep breath slowly in between points, think about only the things you can control.
Here is another instance of being down 2 Nil

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