MENTAL : why is the last point the hardest?

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by kwun, May 19, 2004.

  1. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    why is it that the last point (when you are at 14-x) the hardest to get?

    i was playing singles the other day against someone who's worse than me (well, he challenged me). he wasn't that bad a player, and i am not a singles player either. but i managed to find his weakness which was he consistency at the backcourt, so i played mostly fast clears to his back. eventually, he will return a weak shot and i was quickly winning around 14-3 or so...

    the then block comes in. brain goes blank and i found myself playing differently. tactic changed and i started droping and smashing which is not really my game. then sooner or later, the score was 14-8.

    this also happens with pros. having seen so many pro games where the leader sees a big 14-x lead getting eroded slowly, always failing to get the last point.

    is it because we tend to relax at 14? thinking that the end is near? why is it that we tend to do that instead of just finishing the game off quickly?

    anybody got similar experience?
     
  2. dlp

    dlp Regular Member

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    The effect is two fold , the player on match point may tighten or relax, either way affecting form, the other player will make their best effort.

    At the world coaches conference last year Steve Baddeley the former euro champion gave a talk on this. In his experience he used simple tricks such as reversing the score in his mind. I.e. if you are winning imagine you are the losing player. Although this sounds silly it can actually work.

    ANother mental trick he described was one he used in the european final. He was playing Hall who was the fitter/better player at the time. It went to a third end, Baddeley felt he couldn't win in a third end. He did feel he could win in a game up to 5. So he imagined it was a game to 5, when he reached 5, he mentally reset the score and tried to win another game to 5, eventually he won the third end.
     
  3. yonexfanatic

    yonexfanatic Regular Member

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    this experience always happens to me.

    i guess i can consider myself relatively weak when it comes to the 14-x stage of the game. i normally start off pretty well and when i do get to the 14 point mark, like you mentioned kwun, i seem to ease off a bit (or so one might tend to believe).

    there are times when i feel/know i'm easing off because the opponent is quickly catching up to me in points, that or he's just really good; mentally and skillfully. But because of this, I feel the need to try and finish off the game as quickly as i can, either smash, drop, or whatever. One knows that the best thing to do is continue the same strategy that worked in the early stage of the game.

    However at that stage of the game, some of us amatures, like me espicially, tend to rush more than concentrate on the strategy that's at hand. Due to this rushing, we make more and more mistakes and that in turn also allows the opponent to catch up due to mistakes, giving them unforced points, etc.

    So generally, from that stage in my experiences, it goes from easing off to trying to recover to previous form of the game, and ending up rushing your last point.
     
  4. Magpie

    Magpie Regular Member

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    Relaxing is exactly the reason why it is so hard to finish the game when you have a substantial lead over your opponent. If the score had been close all the way through your game you would have remained focused, and concentrated on the remaining points. However, when you leading by a long way you tend to sit back and think "I'm there now, there's not the need to work as hard".

    This can be fatal. I have played matches where my opponent has reached 14 when I have failed to score many points, but I have won the game as they have 'switched off'. It doesn't just happen at 14, I find I lose concentration at about 12 if I have a large lead over my opponent.

    Maintaining concentration is the key to overcoming this. It might seem silly, but I pretend that I have the score of my opponent and that seems to make me concentrate better in the closing stages of the match.
     
  5. FEND.

    FEND. Regular Member

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    mmm.

    I think it's when we touch the 14th point its almost like winning, where we tend to slack off cause its just one point.

    And when an opponent gets control of the game when you're mentally down or mentally slackening they tend to put up a good fight back. And then you start to have negative thoughts which tend to blast your mental defense mental thoughts as in (oh no he's catching up!) and you tend to make silly mistakes and stuff.

    Well thats my opinion anyway. :D
     
  6. woop.

    woop. Regular Member

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    Some have suggested you should treat every single point you play like it is match point. The aim is to make the individual point you are playing the most important thing in the world. Not to think about the point before, not the one to come, nor the point in the context of the game overall. Just focus on the point and winning it.

    Hopefully this will achieve two things. Firstly the ability to commit fully to every point no matter what the circumstances. And secondly to remove any fears or inconsistencies when you actually are playing a match point.
     
  7. dlp

    dlp Regular Member

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    Statistically every point would appear to be equally important, however if you are losing the first game by a long way then you may choose to conserve effort since the start of the second game will decide the match.

    Another example : Player A leads 12-1, then player B catches up and player A leads 12-10, which player would you rather be? Of course it is better to have a 2 point lead, if you can forget what has gone before. It is likely however that player A's performance will be low since they have "squandered" the lead. It is all about getting in the right frame of mind to play the next point well, nothing else matters, doesn't matter if you were leading , even if you had ten match points in the last game.
     
  8. bluejeff

    bluejeff Regular Member

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    The worst scene is when you are 14, and the opponent(s) is 13.
    Then, if next thing happened is that, they caught up with you, and becomes 14-14, it is usually the one who caught up the scores wins:(

    Yeah, I think both the pressure and the relaxing makes you think you are going to get the last point, but sometimes it's just hard to keep the motivation.
     
  9. ants

    ants Regular Member

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    Most of the time , pressure is on you. And even if you don't slack, your opponents tends to make it hard for you and also they would want to fight back. Thats why 14 going to 15 is tougher.
     
  10. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    I think this is impossible. Say for a shot which have a 30% chance of reaching (not winning), treating it as a match point means you put a huge amount of effort in. Let's say it happens twice in a rally, then you have a few rallies. The total energy expended wil be very great. The cumulative effect near the end of the game will cause you to be in a state of exhaustion.

    The trick is to maintain the psychological state to perform better. I think that's why dlp mentioned Steve Baddeley's technique of 5 points.

    However, that is from perspective of a game of singles. Doubles may be different. Prehaps we could ask Jonas and Eva for a comment on this.
     
  11. New_Guy04

    New_Guy04 Regular Member

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    i was in a tournament tryout, n had to go against this guy in singles... it was a one match game, up to fifteen. i was able to have a quick lead 13-3, but then i couldn't get a single point after that and i lost 15-13!!!!!:mad: good thing i qualified for that tourney, because i would be really mad at myself if i didn't.
     
  12. woop.

    woop. Regular Member

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    I only play doubles so feel free to take my approach only in that context. I hear what is being said about "effort expended" but I stand by my point. With this attitude I shoulder full responsibility for being physically and mentally fit enough to put maximum effort on every point, whilst going for every shot.

    I believe that at a score like 2-12 it is still worth fighting. Even if you catch up only to lose by a narrow margin, there is still a possibility that you have inflicted doubt in the opponents mind by playing so strongly whilst behind.
     
  13. coops241180

    coops241180 Regular Member

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    certainly agree here - if you can't afford the energy to play like it's match point every point how will you ever beat somebody of your own standard that is willing to play that way - that can sometimes be the difference between two players - one is willing to put his body on the line to win a point - the other is not..
     
  14. fhchiang

    fhchiang Regular Member

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    my coach told me...

    NEVER THINK OF WINNING..


    never think like this... 14-X .. ohh.. it's jsut one point away... i can relax.. he's so far behind.. he's not going to win...

    NONONO...


    but instead,think of how to get this point.. treat it as just another point.. and figure out how to get this point...

    don't think it as the winning point
     
  15. Neil Nicholls

    Neil Nicholls Regular Member

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    So, at 0-0 on the first point of the first game of the first day of a tournament, you advocate running round like a headless chicken chasing every shot ?

    You must use judgement. That is how to beat players that are technically and physically better than yourself. Don't just be satisfied with beating players of your own standard.

    Maybe that's just me being old.
    Maybe it is wisdom :D
     
  16. Lao Liu

    Lao Liu Regular Member

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    Don't try every thing you know and every type of shots you can play in any match. Always leave something as a surprise for the match point, you may not even use it on the first match point you get. If you know you have something in your reserve, it will help you to keep your confidence up.
     
  17. woop.

    woop. Regular Member

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    I'm not saying I would try every type of shot I have, and every tactic available on a single point. But my personal approach is never to give up on a point or think all is lost. Since I don't play at international level, it is surprising how the opponent can mess up an easy shot as long as you get it back. True, the higher you go the less likely it gets, but you just never know when the one point you get from chasing a shuttle can help turn the match your way.

    I watched the all england singles final the other day (again). Dan Lin was throwing himself around and the commentators were saying that, despite him not touching the shuttle most of the time, his approach was forcing Gade to hit his cross court slams extremely wide, anything less and the flying opponent was going to get them. So his attitude rather than his shot-making was forcing Gade to smash out!!
     
  18. Neil Nicholls

    Neil Nicholls Regular Member

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    yes, but you've still got to be able to play a half-decent shot when you dive about. The pros can dive, play a decent shot, and get back up be ready for the next shot.
    If all you do in near-hopeless cases is return a shuttle that is almost always killed, it's probably not worth it.
    I'm not disputing that sometimes it IS worth the effort. You need to judge when to do it and when not.
     
  19. jamesd20

    jamesd20 Moderator

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    Zhao jian hua, who was commenting on the footage of the thomas cup I watched said that the crowd might like the dives, but it represents a footwork problem. (and in my opinion wastes a lot of energy, increases chance of injury. footwork is about getting to the shot, playing the shot, and returning to base in the shortest possible time. If you dive you may achieve the first quicker, but the remaining parts are reduced in quality enormousley)
     
  20. dlp

    dlp Regular Member

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    Doubles is in general more intense and requires a different psychology/personality. In doubles on any point if you get a lift anything short of the back line the correct tactic generally is to flatout attack. This applies from county to international level. However in singles few players could put in full attacking effort throughout a match to any lift. Even a player such as Chen Hong will vary his pace and attack, however on crucial points he is likely to go for his biggest smash /net kill.

    In singles sometimes you just stay in the rally and wait , in doubles you rarely have this luxury, therefore the mental approach is different. In singles you see quite a lot of rear court winners but also sometimes errors even from the top players, in doubles most points are won by sustained attack and forcing the pace.

    Regarding diving- I agree with James , in some of the players it is habitual, that is even if the shuttle is reachable with footwork they dive onto their hands/knees. Would Gade be a better player if he dived as much as the chinese? I don't think he would be, he fully commits in defence but mostly stays on his feet and recovers.

    Lin Dan is likely to dive on the first point as the last...I think its just habit
     

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