T-CUP What to do after losing the first set
By Bob Maison
T-CUP. What to do after losing the first set?
The old saying of “Fail to prepare? Then prepare to fail” in many walks of life and although 99.9% of you reading this play for “fun” then a win in box league 14 can give you just as big a lift as any Pro winning a PSA event.
So, preparation should entail, making sure you have all your kit ready for the evening match. Eating properly at lunchtime, allowing yourself enough time to arrive before the match so that you can warm up and mentally rehearse your game plan.
Whilst all this seems fairly obvious, I see players every week, rushing to the courts with no time to spare and then going straight onto court and more or less straight into the match. Then apologising for being “so rubbish” in the first game or claiming that it always takes them time to get going.
With this being so common you can often win the first game by just being better prepared – then you only need to win two more! So, preparation is hugely important.
However, let’s say you were prepared, you went through all your warm ups, but still lost the first set. Well, racket throwing, leg banging and self-recrimination can often be the order of the day and if you’ve lost control of your emotions this early then there’s every chance you are on your way to a 3-0 loss.
You have 2 minutes in between games and if you’ve lost the first game don’t waste a second of it. Have a quick drink, towel off and breathe deeply to slow your Heart rate which in turn will enable you to think more clearly.
If you have lost the first game then you will need to make changes/adjustments. Were the scores close? Do you “just” need to run harder and make more effort?
However, the chances are you need to make some tactical changes. So, think, was the first game all about “bash and dash”? Was it a bit of a slog-fest around the middle of the court?
If you feel that your opponent is better at it than you, then you need to change by slowing the rallies down. Use lob serves, make sure your service returns are hit high and generally focus on hitting the ball higher but softer onto the front wall.
Aim for the top 2’ of the court so that the ball is dropping into the back 2-3 feet of the court. This will slow your opponent down and give you a chance to get in front on the T.
A very simple tactic (but it works really well) is – “if your opponents’ shot lands behind the short line hit your shot high and soft to the back. If their shot lands in front of the short line – give it a welly”
We could go into detail about holds, deception, trickle boats etc – but usually giving it a welly will get the job done in our box leagues.
How should you be thinking if you've won the first game follows ---