Sunday 24 May 2015

Why Do I Always Lose When I'm Winning?

Having a lead in a match can sometimes be some players' worst enemies because they are unable to close out matches. Some players don't understand why they lose when they are winning matches 2-0, 2-1 etc. Here is a brief post on some reasons why players fail to close out matches and what you can do to improve your chances of winning. Remember there is no guaranteed method of success but there are things you can do to swing things more in your favour. See more from my Coaching Blog.

Why do I Always Lose When I'm Winning?

Don't Get Complacent:

A 2-0 lead is still a long way from winning and that's something that every player needs to remember, a lead is not a result. We know from many table tennis matches that things can swing and turn around in the blink of an eye and many famous comebacks have occurred. One of the big mistakes of players is to lose focus when they have a significant lead and play either looser or with more risk and go for more low probability shots. Before you know it you have thrown away enough points and perhaps it's 2-1 or 2-2. Now that you have loosened up a lot and are more relaxed than you should be, it can be very difficult to bring your focus back into the match in order to finish it off. Remember also the pressure in the 5th is much more pressing than when you have a 2-0 lead.

If you Start Strong, Finish Strong. If you have the chance to win 3-0, take it, don't fool around or let your foot off the pedal. Play with peak concentration all the way through, your opponent will take any chance they can get at 0-2 to get back into the game. Don't let them back in or get momentum in the match on account of not being focused enough.

Take Time to Manage the Pace of the Match:

When an opponent starts coming back into the match, things can start happening fast and everything gets out of control. When you are facing a comeback, it is important to take your time and not let things overwhelm you. Make sure you take a little time before your serve and between points, use your towel breaks or a timeout if necessary. Don't lose on account of being rushed into throwing away points or before you know it the match may be over and you will have lost.

Keep A Winning Attitude:

Often we experience loss in matches from a lead, sometimes it starts a vicious psychological cycle. One I have experience myself. This is about confidence, you need the confidence to know you have the ability to win the match. Let's face it, if you can win 2 games, why would you not believe you can win 3?

Many players suffer from repetitive losses from leads and begin to doubt their ability to win, this is a dangerous barrier for all sports people. Doubt is a one way trip to loss in many life situations. You will lose confidence in your strokes, your game plan and your belief in your ability to win. Usually after a score of comeback losses, many players will assume a loss early on once they begin to lose from 2-0 or 2-1 up and they accept the loss early as 'it always happens'. This is a losing attitude.

Never Give Up on the Match, Never Expect to Lose. Confidence is one of the most powerful weapons in sport, a winning attitude throughout a match will aid your ability to win. No matter who you are playing, always believe in your best effort, never accept loss as a possibility especially when you are leading. Usually if you believe you will lose a match then you also let go of the possibility of winning, fight to the very last point. Even if you lose, you will gain valuable experience for future matches.

Always Fight to Win, Not to Hold On:

This is a very common rule in sports. Fight for the win, never try to hold on to a lead. What does this mean? Well they are not the same. You need to focus on winning, not on stopping the other person from winning. If you play your best tactics to win and they are successful then the other player will not have success in the match.

Some players shut down their best game plans in order to play safe and try and cling to their lead, this is one of the biggest downfalls of many players who 'choke' in matches. Playing safe only gives the opponent more options to execute their game plans. Always continue to play your best tactics with 100% confidence that they will carry you through.

Adapt Your Tactics:

Part of the reason players lose from a lead can be due to changes in the tactics of their opponents, or awareness of the tactics being used against them. You may have the best set plays in the world, but eventually even the most inexperienced of players may begin to evaluate what is occurring in the match. Be aware of your opponent's changes.

If your opponent has tightened up their game a lot to stop you from attacking, you need to adapt. The loss of points and inability to execute the shots which build your confidence can be a huge advantage to the opposition.

So Be Aware of changes made by your opponent, especially if you see a change in the momentum of the match. Adapt your strategy constantly unless it is still working to great effect.

So those are 5 key pointers to help you have a better chance at having victory in matches where you work hard to secure a lead. It also helps to concentrate on each point and not so much on the match score overall.

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  1. Thanks. Good advice. I often get complacent thinking I'm up by 2 early, so I will end the game up by 2.


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