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Drown/Quicksand Better Opponents

When facing an opponent who look better on paper, it is important to remember Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope strategy against George Foreman in their famous Rumble in the Jungle. In this fight, Ali danced around the ring and leaned against the ropes thereby allowing the ropes to absorb much of Foreman's punches. In the end, Foreman got tired of hitting "nothing but air" and eventually got knocked down in the 8th round by a five-punch combination. Although Ali was by no means an underdog in this fight, it was a risky proposition considering the punching power of Foreman. However, through superior tactics, he came out successful. 

Tennis player should remember this anecdote when facing "better" players or, more importantly, hard hitters. Often times, pride and testosterone get in the way of our success. Sometimes, when facing a hard-hitters it is tempting to get into a tank battle by trading artillery strikes ("Oh yeah! That's what you got?! Let me show you what I got!"). You get in this sort of thing and the chances are that the better player will win or, of you're lucky, the chances of success are 50-50. Is that good enough?! Shouldn't the goal be to win 100% of the time?! If the answer is yes, than perhaps one thing to consider would be to drown your opponent in shots that force him to generate all the pace and, when possible, shots that force him to take 5 steps to your two. This doesn't mean that you have to "push" (and there's NO judging from me if you do) but it does mean that you try to consistently hit shots out of your opponent's comfort zone forcing him to expend more energy. In time - be it 5-6 game or longer - the opponent will start making bad decisions; will start going for winners at inopportune times; will stop running after certain shots; will slow down. You have made the tank get bogged down in quicksand or, like the crocodile, have dragged the lion into the muddy water and drowned it (rather than fighting it on land - in its natural habitat). 

When utilizing the "drowning" strategy, keep tabs on your energy levels as well as the score. For the most part, don't play the scoreboard but, instead, see how your opponent is coping with the pressure that your putting on him and, as your playing begins to take a toll, SLOWLY start pushing your opponent around the court (while still maintaing consistency and while still keeping the ball out of your opponent's strike zone). Have the confidence that the tank WILL, at "some point", run out of gas or get stuck in the mud. Actively work to identify that POINT. 



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    NFL is seriously one particular of the greatest sports in America. It has a major following.
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