Practice During a Match? 19

Practice During a Match?

Won today 6-1, 6-0. The games were closer than the sets. My opponent had a good game. Experienced, good hands, strokes, serve and a deceptive drop shot. He had game point five times but I was able to find some strong focus to win four of them.

I had an interesting challenge today. A couple of great players, buddies of mine, had suggested I tweak my game a bit to deal with those players who have given me trouble in the past. Good ideas and definitely some tactics that I have thought about but never got around to bringing to my game. My story has been that I have been successful up until now so why mess with it. Well, I realized that what has gotten me to this level might not get me to the next level, the level that might make me more solid against the best in the world.

For years I have worked on my game during practice matches. For the last few weeks I have been working on these adaptations with my practice partners.

I am aware that part of what turns me on in the game is developing my craft. I even identified it yesterday in my blog.

So today, in a match where I felt minimal pressure, I decided to experiment and to practice.

I suppose that, in some way, it took some courage to do it. I was sacrificing what I knew would work for the future, even at the cost of some points, or even games.

I know I need to do it to bring these new pieces to my game.

But I didn’t like the feeling. I felt that I was being disrespectful to my opponent. As if I was saying to him, “I am good enough to beat you without bringing my best.”

So my challenge is to create a better story around bringing practice to my matches in a way that doesn’t feel like condescension.

I don’t have that story yet but will be working on it.

Sometimes developing my craft has less to do with my game and more to do with creating stories that get me what I want.

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