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I started playing tennis a year ago and is looking to improve. I used to hit balls over and over again with a partner but I found out the way I hit the ball is foul. Therefore, I decided to take lessons to learn the basics. I've taken 4 lessons so far and my instructor stated I was picking up really fast. I then participated in a round robin league to play some games, and of course, I did play matches. People who I played with was around my level, or close; I was quite sure I could match them. My problem is I was not able to input the basic I learned from the lessons in the match because I felt pressures. I felt I don;t have the confidence to play matches.

Is it because I am not ready to compete with same-level players?

Or is it because I lack of confidence and lack of mental strength. I do admit I lack of this attributes, but how do I work on it? How do I build confidence?


Any comments, I'd appreciate helps and advices.



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I think what you need to do is stop worrying about winning or losing. Right now you should be concerned about your technique and getting up the ladder better that way. Once you get your technique your confidence will sky rocket and that's when you can start really focusing more on match play and beating the pants off people.


Don't be afraid about hitting the ball out because, in all honesty, it's going to happen and it's going to happen more if you think about it way too much. Focus on what your coach is telling you and don't find yourself in the matches about it.

that transition from lesson to match play is tough at first.  Repetition is your biggest friend!  Do you still hit with your hitting partner?  It is much easier to get your confidence up without the pressure of a match.

Sounds like Joe B's problem minus the lessons! lol

You should spend more time practicing and playing Why should you pay for the experience, when you can get it free from pickup games at the park? Lessons are lessons, but implementing them in the form of a game is a different thing altogether. 

Pressure can definitely be too much to handle when you don't have a clear idea of the technique. I would recommend playing for a year or two before joining any round robin league. By then, you have a game that is already formed, not having to be formulated during a league setting. 

hi Mike, I struggle with the same thing and am learning from a 4.0 friend of mine that confidence is a virtue of self practice and knowing you can repeat your success.  What I have started to do is just go to the court and bring a cone (i use a hula hoop ) and just practice aiming at the hop from anywhere on the court whether down the line or cross court.  Basically I am practicing putting the ball in the hoop just like basketball.  If I can shoot 80% on the court with no pressure I should be able to hit 50% under pressure.  Same with all shots like serve smash etc.  I think confidence is a function of practice.  So now when I am playing the game I say to myself.  " i can do this 70% of the time and if I just missed that one it means i will make the next one!" 

Another tip is that when you are practicing with friends, don't just rally but agree to play points without serve. After two rally balls go for a strategic aim shot and practice that shot over and over in the rally. 

Just some thoughts for you :)

Hey Tim,

Confidence is a huge issue! In addition to the on-court suggestions folks have made already, here are a couple of my favorite books with short, easy-to-read chapters that help you give your confidence a boost. Check it out!

Tim Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis (a classic)

Jeff Greenwald, The Best Tennis of Your Life

Good luck!


my blog: Second Serve

Hmm, you mean Mike, right, Anne? hehe

yeh sorry, got the names confused in all these threads!


What you describe is typical.  Everyone gets nervous and tight when they first start getting involved in match play.  The remedy is experience.  When you have sufficient experience to be "familar" with match play, you will relax and be more able to execute your shots without getting tight. 

PS: I just realized I responded to a post from 1 1/2 years ago.  DOH!  I hate when that happens.

Tennis is like a fight. are you going to chicken out & Run? or are you gonna fight and put yourself in the hospital. what you are feeling is a form of fear. you need to be brave and put Everything on the line as if nothing else matters. no fear no guilt only you and your shots. it will get easier once you stop caring.

I think you should take a look at the book" Inner Tennis". It will teach you methods to not judge all your shots and if you are not judging you will not feel pressure. I read this book 20 years ago and find myself going back to it all the time.


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