In life there’s a saying that patience is a virtue. In sports, be like a boa constrictor not a rattlesnake. You want to be patient and methodical and wear down your opponent. You don’t just want the quick strike. You want to be silently strategic and not warn your enemy when you are about to strike. In tennis, you want to move the ball side-to-side. Drop shot then lob. Pin your opponent by using your battering ram. Outlast your opponent. Silently build your strategy. Only pull the trigger when you’ve earned it. If you get lucky and hit the lines then you’re happy but not satisfied. You want to be satisfied with ensuring the victory. Ensure winning the point by setting up your shots and then closing out the point.
Hitting a great shot when you earned the setup shot is fine but randomly hitting a great shot, say from a defensive position, can be low percentage and quite frankly lucky. Hope is not a strategy. You don’t want to hit and hope. You want to know. You want to play aggressively consistent or consistently aggressive at 60% to 80% of your power level. You don’t want to be redlining at 100% all of the time because that’s a very high-risk strategy. The equivalent is for you card players out there, hitting in blackjack when you have 17. You want to hit when you have 11 for sure but you don’t want to hit when you have 17 because most of the time you will bust. If you get a four to put you at twenty-one, that was more luck and very high risk.
It’s the equivalent of when Magnus Carlsen, the youngest world champion chess player, plays chess. Although he attacks he has multiple combination moves and protects his King at all times. You want to have high percentage offense. You want to attack with your consistency. You want to attack with your mind. You want to have an offense that you can rely upon that will win you matches and win your points assuredly. When you are defending you are doing so with a purpose. Some people say that grinding it out is boring. I say winning isn’t boring. There are flashy shots that some players hit but those flashy shots over time would be extinguished with a tried-and-true, solid strategy. A rattlesnake quickly goes after their prey and it’s either hit or miss with the snake’s venom. Whereas a boa constrictor carefully and methodically constricts their prey from breathing and, over time, wins. That’s what you want in sports. You want to have high percentage plays to close out games and points rather than the quick winner or unforced error.
Tom Brady does it when quarterbacking for the New England Patriots. When he’s down he doesn’t just throw deep passes but, rather, he builds his offense around high percentage short passes. He goes for 2-point conversions only when absolutely necessary, like the two of them in Super Bowl LI.
You don’t want to show your hand with a rattle. You want to quietly produce a winning game plan. Play with patience. Play with purpose. Play like a boa constrictor not a rattlesnake, and you will win more often. And nothing against rattlesnakes.
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You can learn more about a couple of tennis GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ that I have been a part of:
Our Inspiration – 2 World Records 2 Minute Video
FOX News Story
MSNBC News Story
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
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