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How do we make use of the 'Unforced Error' statistic

Anyone who watches professional tennis can't help but notice the amount of statistics that are kept on each match. First and second serve percentage; first and second serve points won; break points earned; break points won; total points won and so on. Similar statistics are kept in other sports too. Examples are greens in regulation or footballers' distance run. Most of these statistics are useful to the spectator, giving them a deeper understanding of key performance indicators in a sporting contest. There are, however, several statistics that are displayed during a tennis match that are at best underutilised and at worst give a misleading impression of a player's performance.  One of these statistics is the Unforced Error.

Read more: How do we make use of the 'Unforced Error' statistic

Why is my practice game so much better than my match game?

Let's start by considering the major differences between a match and practice. In a match situation there is a consequence to everything you do. This can be either positive or negative but it will usually involve very intensely felt thoughts, emotions and feelings caused by the constant evaluation involved in a match coupled with your expectations. Practice, on the other hand, does not inherently carry these same consequences - it is very easy to have another go if something does not work.

Read more: Why is my practice game so much better than my match game?

If you are only focussed on winning in sport you are in for an emotional roller coaster!

Over the past few weeks as the sporting summer has really taken off, I have encountered a lot of sportspeople exasperated by not winning. This perceived lack of success is really testing the person concerned's patience and resilience. In actual fact, a small change in your thinking can make a massive impact on your enjoyment and the outcome of your competitions. 

Read more: If you are only focussed on winning in sport you are in for an emotional roller coaster!

Is there such a thing as a 'Good Error'?

With the advent of performance statistics in all sports, the notion that an error can be considered 'good' is a bitter pill to swallow. However, accepting errors now for the benefit of your game in the future can reap big rewards. A bold  example of the 'Good Error'  is the England Cricket Team's win over Australia, winning England back the coveted Ashes trophy. The England team's inconsistent performances in pursuing a more aggressive style of play in test matches brought them much criticism over the summer but when the team won the Ashes, this long term approach was vindicated.  

Read more: Is there such a thing as a 'Good Error'?

Great British Tennis Weekend: A Future Perspective

As a keen tennis player, I have watched as ideas have come and gone through British Tennis with varying degrees of success. I have therefore thought a lot about the aim of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in pushing the notion of the Great British Tennis Weekend. After a significant amount of reflection on the idea in both a practical (working these free events with my club - Saltdean Tennis Club - as club performance psychologist) and philosophical sense, I would like to provide my thoughts to the wider tennis community.
 

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