If you play tennis, you may be interested in a strategy I just learned about called Plan B. To some degree, I like to think I’ve always done this, but honestly, writing about it makes me think I can do it a whole lot more effectively now.
Everyone goes into a tennis match with their A plan. Feel out your opponent, see what their strength and weaknesses are and how you can exploit them.
But what if they’re just better than you?
What if they’re just that good that you can’t exploit a weakness? What if you need an alternate plan to use?
That’s what Plan B is all about.
Human nature is such that it’s easier for us to play from behind than with a lead. When we’re behind, the game is lost, and there is nothing else to lose, so we relax. When we’re ahead, the pressure is on to keep that lead, and we tend to worry more about making mistakes.
I honestly believe this is why we see so many more come from behind wins in professional sports these days. The pressure of being ahead, especially in a nationally televised sport, just gets into the head’s of players, coaches, and entire teams.
The mental strain leads to mistakes. And mistakes are how an opponent can get themselves back in a game, they maybe shouldn’t have had a chance to.
So how does Plan B work?
When an opponent has a lead on you, slow the game down. Take your time. Make them think about it. Make them worry. Your calm under pressure will cause them concern. And then suddenly they may create their own mistake for you to exploit.
This is why it’s important to train hard.
If you believe you train really hard for the sport, double your training. Because when the body tires, the mind weakens, and that’s when people make mistakes.
But when the mind tires, the body weakens, and that’s when people make dumb mistakes.
If you can outlast your opponent, you can beat your opponent.
Additionally, play out every point hard.
Even if you’re playing someone clearly better than you, make them work for every single point. Make them earn it. Slowing the game down and making them work for every point will have a psychological effect on them. From there you can hopefully get a chance to take advantage of it.
And never, ever, give them an easy game.
Even if you’re down to game point, with nothing to show for it, and it would seem to be easier just to give up; play as hard as you can for that point.
Because even in a game of lost points, you can psychologically gain a future edge. Put the pressure on them to earn that final point and watch how much they relax at the start of the next match.
It’s human nature that we don’t want that mental pressure on ourselves for long periods of time. So the more you push them, the better a chance you have of gaining an advantage.

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