This was good. Tonight was a good match. We took a small group of guys for a long bus ride, and then were able to play some good tennis. There were highlights in all of the matches, where the handle was turned, and our faucet was pouring out hot.
Byeong played a very close first set with the Eagle's #1, Evan Trusty. Both were having difficulty breaking serve. But in the middle of the first set, Byeong began to make small footwork and strategy adjustments. These adjustments made Trusty's service games closer, and Byeong was finally able to make the breakthrough to take the first set. Footwork is such a huge thing for Byeong, making the adjustment steps and swinging, so it was good to see him do that when he needed to.
For Simon, playing his second match at #2 singles instead of #1 doubles, then highlights came mixed in with the difficulties. On his best points, he was able to confidently step up to the ball and send streaking approaches into senior Joe Conti's backhand. Simon's volleys tonight were then killer, and he was able to turn them on for the second set tiebreak, where he played his best tennis.
At #3S, Lucas found a way to recover his stroke. He was able to lengthen points out by making sure to take balls down the middle when he was uncomfortable. This allowed his stroke to loosen up, and he really began to hit good angles and put Fremont's #3, Thayne Camp, in difficult positions.
At the doubles positions, we had great plays where we were able to step into the ball and spin simple forehands into the empty court, causing the four Eagle doubles players to make passing shots or lobs under pressure. We moved up well and didn't try to do too much...
most of the time.
Because in each of the matches, we also had moments where the handles got switched, the cold was turned on, and we couldn't figure out how to turn it off. We got frustrated, we stopped moving, we lost energy, we hit dumb aggressive instead of smart aggressive, we got worried. In those moments, the Eagles took advantage, and picked up their level of play.
The point is not that we are going to always be running hot. A faucet doesn't work that way (unless you get a really expensive water heater :-) The trick is, how do we turn off the cold water - the frustration, the loss of energy, the poor footwork, the mental sabotage - and restart? How do we keep the hot water flowing for the whole match, instead just in spurts?
Well, there are some keys to doing this. First, keep it at a low, hot stream for most of the match. Instead of turning the water on full blast, just get a steady stream. A steady stream of energy, a steady stream of positivity. Then, you can flip the water on full blast when you need a bunch of hot, like finishing off a set. How do you keep that steady stream?
1. Find a focus word that you can return to between every point.
2. Don't get worried about singular bad points, wipe them off and return to your focus.
3. Use positive body language (silent fist pumps, mental c'mons, smiles and hi-fives).
4. Use verbal encouragement for yourself in big moments (but stay away from verbalizing discouragement).
Honestly, the biggest key is #1. Having a pattern that you return to after every point. But let's talk about this more at practice tonight.
In general, I loved how we played. It was smart, it was aggressive, and it was fun to watch. And it was fun to be together with you. Picking out songs on the ride home was a highlight to me, one of the many non-tennis memories we'll have from this season together. Thanks guys!
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-4, 6-0 - Evan Trusty (10)
#2S - Simon Hurst - 6-4, 7-6 (2) - Joe Conti (12)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 6-3, 6-4 - Thayne Camp (11)
#1D - Brandon Nguyen/Lane Miller - 6-0, 6-3 - Cole Thomas (11)/Quest Crotty (10)
#2D - Dustin Miller/Jonathon Yousey - 6-2, 6-1 - Dylan Weisenfelder (11)/Josh Rode (10)
#1DJV - Daniel Robles/Jackson King - 8-1 - Eli McNaughton (9)/Chase Boals (9)