Winning Is NOT Your Responsibility
I am a tennis player that has a huge passion for the game. I would play it everyday if I had the chance.
Recently, i have been in a slump. i went to Regionals for my school team and I was seeded number two.
My draw looked like a ticket into State. I rolled through my first match 6-0, 6-0. My second match however was a completely different story. i had beaten this girl before and she had been an easy competitor, although I came out quite nervous because of what was at stake.
The match went on and i lost the second set. My mind was in the gutter by then and there was no getting it out. Needless to say, I lost the match, my opportunity to go to State was gone.
My main school coach never talked to me once during the match, although I did get a few comments from the assistant coaches. I was disappointed in myself, and i thought that I had disappointed everyone else in the entire world too.
i definitely learned a lot from that match, about myself and my game. Since then, I feel like my mind is always negative and extremely stressed. And I am naturally a very bubbly person. I feel like I cannot improve.
I have a great regular coach but with limited funds I rarely get to talk to him. What can I do to improve, whether it be in the gym, out on the court, or mentally?
When you journey through the tennis adventure you will inevitably find out that some assumptions and predictions you may have are not correct.
Coming into the match thinking that you have an easy opponent did not prove correct. And changing your mind during the match usually doesn’t work.
So the best way to approach any tennis match is to NOT make any assumptions and predictions but just accepting the current situation as it is.
Second, you put a lot of pressure on yourself by focusing on the outcomes and the opinion of other people. Let’s talk about other people first.
You feel that you have so disappointed everyone and this loss in still in your mind. But if you go now to those people (whoever you think they are – coaches, friends, …) and ask them if they keep thinking about your loss as much as you do, you’ll see some surprised faces.
NO ONE is thinking about your loss now. People think about themselves 99% of the time. They have moved on already.
Yes, they may have been disappointed that day but they have forgotten about that by now. They are focused on themselves… So don’t worry too much about other people’s opinion…
Now I need to tell some very shocking truth: you cannot control the outcome of a tennis match. Or in other words, you are NOT RESPONSIBLE for the outcome of a tennis match. An outcome is of course a win or a loss.
Why are you not responsible? Because the match is not under your control. You are trying to INFLUENCE the outcome but you cannot guarantee what will happen.
Why is this shocking? Because you will realize that tennis – as all other sports – is just one big lottery. That’s why people like to watch it. It’s unpredictable. Everyone outside the sport knows that.
You are never sure whether Federer will win the tournament or whether Ana Ivanovic can win another Slam or whether Serena Williams can make it to the third round. You are never sure…
The better player (according to rankings) does not necessarily beat the weaker player (according to the rankings).
So when you go into the match, it’s not your problem whether you win or lose. The only thing you can control is your effort. You can give 100% effort regardless of your opponent, the score or anything else.
And when you focus only on your effort and don’t focus on the outcome, then you will play relaxed and with everything you’ve got and that’s when the results – the outcome – will REFLECT that.
You do not directly affect the outcome. It is a combination of your play, your opponent’s play and the difficulty of tennis game.
When you play a tennis match, your main goal is to find your BEST level of play. It means that you must feel good and energized and positive. This is almost under your control. (sometimes the emotions take over, but your goal is that you take over your emotions.)
So all the time you need to monitor your state – what you think, how you feel emotionally and how your body feels. If something is not right, work on that to improve it. That way your tennis will improve and will thus positively influence the outcome of the match.
Again, your main responsibility is to control your state and it’s not the end result. The end result will REFLECT (will be the consequence) of your state – what you thought, how you felt and how energized your body was.
Analyzing Your Effort In Tennis Matches
Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?
Will My Child Make It In Tennis?
Why Am I Not Giving My Best?
2 Ways To Deal With Match Pressure