Feb. 10, 2021

Dealing With Stress

We all have to deal with stress on the tennis court. Harness the good stress. Learn how to be aware of different levels of stress with a color-coded system and handle those difficult situations.

Coach: Chris Haggard, former world no.19 doubles. Won 7 ATP titles.
Bio: Turned pro in 1993. Spent 15 years on the ATP Tour. Excelled at doubles to reach career-high #19 ranking. Stayed in Top 50 for over a decade. Won 7 ATP titles. Reached SF Australian Open and QF of both US Open and Wimbledon. Career wins over Bryan Brothers, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Leander Paes, Pat Rafter, Leyton Hewitt, and Marat Safin.

Birthplace: South Africa
Residency: USA

Length: 2 min 11 sec
Theme: Emotion


One thing I've had to deal with, and we will have to deal with it is stress on the tennis court.

And, the way I explain it as you we have different levels of stress. We have the good stress. And, I think the good stress is the stress, we need. We need (we need) to score. You know, that's exciting, you playing a point to (to) win a match, you know, that's good stress that motivates you (you) know, you want to beat your opponent.

But the problem is, you know, we can once we go too far, we (you know) I call that the green zone. And, then once (once) we out of the green zone, we go to the orange zone, which is borderline too much stress, where we start thinking too much about winning and losing we, you know, we get a little anxious, you know, breathing gets quick, we feel tension.

And, then from the orange, we go to the red, which is the really bad stress and (and) from there, it's really hard to come back. Because once you're in the red, that's its full, you know, full-on panic attack, can't play, you know, you're completely tight, you can't even serve or hit the ball over the net.

So, I think it's very important that you manage your stress on the court. And, the way I used to do that was being aware of where my stress level was. If I was in the green and the orange, you know, I was fine, but I knew I couldn't hang out in the orange too long, because then once you get to the red, it's too late. And, I think what happens with most players, they realize too late that they're in that red stress level and they can't come back.

So, you know, some of the tools is just being aware of it. And, what I used to do is breathe. So, you just focus on your breathing. And, that's just slow rhythmic breathing, you know that for me that used to work. Another thing would be to slow it down a little bit. You know, another thing would be, you know, take my mind off the match a little bit. I used to maybe think of a song or I don't know, think of (think of) something else besides playing the tennis match. Those little things that can help. And, just remember, stress isn't bad for you as long as you keep in the green and (and) you'll have a great time.