Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Watch the ball

It's been a while since I read Winning Ugly but I'm sure Gilbert had a
phrase along the lines of "it's the pretty strokes that crumble under
pressure".

(that's by no means a literal quote but you get the point).

I don't really have the pretty strokes so less of an issue for me but
what I have noticed in recent weeks is that under pressure I all too
easily forget the No 1 rule of any coach (or parent teaching their
kid): watch the ball.

Not sure why but as things hot up I guess I'm too preoccupied with
where my opponent is or where the ball is heading, and so I'm failing
to watch the ball onto the strings.

When I get a moment I must google tips on how to get yourself into the
habit. Surely it can't just be a case of concentrating? If so I'm
doomed.

As ever the role model is Roger. I love those close up photos of him
staring at the contact point as the ball speeds off back towards his
opponent. He's perfected keeping the head still and the eyes locked.

Goes without saying that no part of my game will ever be in the same
league as the maestro, but it got me thinking - is it possible for a
weekend park player to be able to watch a ball as well as a top 10 pro?

Or do they have some sort of superhero vision thing going on?

As ever, your thoughts are always welcome. As are any tips on how to
condition myself into watching the ball.

I'm sure it was also Gilbert who said 'read the writing on the ball'.
Is that really possible?

1 comment:

van said...

Hey Steve, how are you? I don't know what can be done to help someone with this because lately this has been killing me! I think I do a pretty good job of hitting from the back, but it seems whenever I get a short ball, I'm dumping it into the net or hitting it long. I've actually been trying to use a keyword, "execute," before I hit it and that helps. It keeps me focused on the ball whether than worrying where my opponent is going. It's helped a little but not as much as I'd like!

Maybe the keyword thing can help.