Nov. 9, 2020

Problem Solving

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What do you do when you are losing a match? Learn practical tips and techniques to help you problem solve in the moment and change your situation.

Coach:Beverly Bowes, Former WTA top 50. Five-time all-American.
Bio:Earned top WTA 50 world ranking. Five-time All-American at the University of Texas (UT). Inducted into the UT Women’s Hall of Honor in 2000. Division I NCAA Head Coach at SMU, Assistant Coach at UT, and a USTA National Junior Development Coach.

Length:3 min 14 sec


I often get asked when I'm losing a match, what do I think of? And how do I get out of the situation I'm in.

I feel like that was a strength of mine when I was on the tour, problem-solving skills are massively important. The first thing that I can recall is to take my time, breathe, you cannot solve why you're losing under panic and duress. Go through the recall of a play or a pattern that really worked well for you. Maybe a technique on your groundstroke, that works. A coach probably given you some keywords that might have helped some of those keywords like brush get set, good toss equals a good serve, step up, punch, stick it, maybe get some more height over the net. Those are all keywords that you want to recall when you're losing, they might just change your situation, you're out there and you're your own best coach, it should be all positive and super helpful to yourself.

I've turned a whole match around in Japan, visualizing the Asian crowd for me instead of against me. I've had the distractions of different people swirling around pressure points money, and through grit and determination found a way to try and find my weapon. My weapon was my forehand and it wasn't there. So I had to figure out how am I going to win this match without it. I could say it's not my day. Most people say it's not my day, they talk about it after the match at a lunch. This is where you have to really stop yourself and say what can I do here that could really help me win this match and get out of this situation that seems to be losing. So taking my time, thinking of the different things that I could do. Count five, six in a row on my forehand. Look at a different way to win the match. Maybe getting into the net, maybe I start hitting lobs and be patient, the normal way isn't working. Being able to find a different way is a difference in building confidence in these problem-solving skills. Don't wonder whether you should do them or not. The problem is if you don't do them, the alternative is not good. If you can't see on a certain side wear sunglasses. If you're missing and making too many unforced errors, give yourself some margin, give yourself some height over the net. If your opponents hitting really powerful winners slow the game down dramatically.

As you get better at problem-solving, you'll gain confidence in turning around a match that was supposed to be not your day. You changed you pivoted you adjusted and you most importantly trusted that there was an alternative way to win a match. Be calm, brave, you can do it.