Random tips from me and people I have talked to
Always stay calm and relaxed. This is a good one, in particular when it comes to bad referees, (or just referees who see things differently to you). It can take some practice, but in the vast majority of cases, ingoring bad calls is better for your game than getting upset, arguing or throwing your sunglasses into the crowd. Or even trying to tear the side line out of the ground, which is a tantrum tactic a good friend of mine tried once at the Australian Open on the Gold Coast… needless to say, he lost the game, and looked very, very silly in the process 😉
The guys that win are the guys that take the bad calls on the chin, shrug their shoulders and go back to pass the next ball.
Have a totally dependable bread and butter shot and keep it sharp by practice. It’s always good to know that under pressure you can hit a ball that you know will go it, and put pressure on your opponent. It’s important to keep the variation in your shot making when the pressure is not on so that the defender doesn’t just camp on your favourite shot all day.
For example, my bread and butter is power cross, but if I don’t hit enough line shots, to move the defender, then I get dug a lot.
Always be working on new shots or techniques. Use them a lot in small games and practice matches and test them in big games when you are fully confident.
As a matter of interest, my new years resolution is to learn to hit a rainbow shot deep and consistently to the cross corner. I reckon that will be a good change up to add into the mix.
Enjoy yourself. This is a lot harder than it sounds. Sometimes, when things are really bad I have to just focus on one or two little things, so that even if we get badly beaten, and play horribly, I can come off the court and say “OK, at least my last five sets were perfect, or my last few serves made the passer move”
Worst case scenario, if you are playing horribly, and your partner is yelling at you, and the ref is calling you every time you set the ball,… look for topless bathers.
Remember it is better to play well and lose than to play poorly and win. Improvement is what this is all about and getting angry and playing poorly never helps your future game.
Drink more beer
The “shakes” from low blood sugar is better and quickly remedied by a few sips of beer and then a candy bar. Alcohol metabolizes faster than sugar and will steady you in seconds with little intoxication effects. (Not actually my idea, but I’m told it works)
Beer and bananas is also a magical cure for cramps… again, just what I have been told… 😉
Scout your opponents
The most important thing you can get is information. Learn your opponents early and use the information late in the game when they have no time to adjust.