Wait for a mistake or Hit a winner..

I’ve been watching US open Tennis currently and I’ve observed this trend as we move up the rounds. Was quite interesting, so thought of sharing my thoughts on it.. 

If you observe matches in the initial rounds, you see lot of lower ranked players playing each other. As we move forward in the rounds, the quality increases and we see better levels of tennis. In the initial rounds, the games seem to go at a much slower pace. Most points are won on “Unforced Errors”, which means errors that were made by the player himself, not induced by the opposite player.

Lets look at a match stat.. It was between Somdev Devvarman and Lukas Lacko

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Have a look at the Winners and Unforced Errors stat there. You’d see the result went in the favor of one who made fewer unforced errors. This is a typical trend in the initial rounds. Hence the matches are quite boring as there are lot of mistakes made by the players, and worse, the players are just waiting for each other to make mistakes rather than play the awesome winners. This may not be true, but certainly looks like that.

Now compare this with a game further down the tournament, a Semi Final or the Final. This is generally contested between top ranked players. These guys or girls hardly make any unforced errors. So you’d typically see lot of winners and great game overall. 

This same thing applies for any type of company or work as well..

There are jobs that pay you just to not make a mistake. You’re just expected not to make a mistake. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the winners. Hitting winners brings an element of risk along with it. If it goes wrong, it adds a negative remark on your profile. However, if you do hit a winner, it really doesn’t add much to your profile. Generally discourages improving and upping your game.

This works perfectly for some organizations and employees. They play the lower rounds and never really interested in making it to the next rounds, because this game will not cut it.

If you move higher through the rounds, you’ll not only have to make less mistakes but at the same time, hit winners.

It is certainly tougher than just waiting for some one else to make a mistake for you to get advantage. It certainly requires lot of hard work to perfect your game, where you reduce your number of unforced errors. It certainly requires you to be more aggressive and try out impossible winners at times. It certainly involves lot more risk and certainly pushes the envelope of your physical and mental capabilities.

But this is what makes great championships what they are. Top players hit winners, and not just waiting for opponent’s mistakes.

This is the reason only Finals are remembered. 

This is the reason only Champions are celebrated.

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