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What do you think is the dominant psychology in this setting?

Posted by tennisplanet on October 19, 2010

You are on the run and lunging to barely make contact with the ball, as you watch the opponent moving to the net from the corner of your eye. You have two choices:

1. No matter what you do, the ball is not going in if you attempt to hit a passing shot from where you are. But you attempt it anyway sending the ball wide.

2. Best you can do is manage a weak return for an easy put away for your opponent at the net.

I think, most of the time players choose the first option (with minus zero chance of going in) grounded firmly in the bloated ego for not wanting to feel a bit humiliated to let the world watch an easy put away while they stand helpless.

Shouldn’t the second option be the more prudent one banking on at least making the opponent hit another shot with a better percentage of him messing it up than the percentage of you putting the ball in?

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3 Responses to “What do you think is the dominant psychology in this setting?”

  1. chipnputt said

    I don’t think the player thinks the probability of hitting the passing shot is zero. It’s low, but about as low as the opponent missing a complete sitter at the net. So, the probability of you winning the point is about the same regardless of which option you choose.

    So you go for option 1 — you miss rather than give the other guy the satisfaction of hitting a winner.

    • Logansan said

      Agreed but I would look at it more optimistically – rather than hope for the miss from the opponent, I would rather take control of the shot in the hopes that I might actually make the low-percentage shot. In my experience, my opponents generally don’t miss those sitters, so I rather enjoy making sublime shots.

  2. Growltiger said

    Pete Sampras was the fair haired boy of his era. I personally think he was lucky not to have to try to volley passing shots by Federer, Soderling, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Berdych and the rest of the hard hitters out there today.

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