Losses in tennis are inevitable. How do you handle these losses? Discover how to apply the lessons and mentally prepare for the next match.
Coach: Estevam Strecker, head tennis coach
Bio: Former head men’s tennis coach at St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas. Second-straight Heartland Conference Coach of the Year award and two-consecutive trips to the NCAA Regional Tournament. Played collegiate tennis at Auburn from 1999 to 2002, claiming 86 singles victories (8th on the all-time list) and 3 NCAA Tournament appearances. Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and Masters in Exercise Physiology.
Length: 3 min 42 sec
We all have heard that in life, there are winners and there are losers. And tennis, mimics real life. Every tennis match ends with someone winning and someone losing. There are no ties. And, as much as we would like to be on the winning side of the equation, the reality is that no player goes undefeated for life. The best pros lose, everyone will lose at some point. There will always be the day where things don't go your way. How you handle losses is way more important than the loss itself. And, knowing how to bounce back after a few losses is extremely important as a tennis player. The moment you start questioning your ability to win, you are guaranteed to fail. As a tennis player, you must focus on the process that is required to be successful. Every match teaches you a lesson. It is your job to learn them. And, then apply the knowledge and practice so that you continue to develop and improve.
You must put the work in. You must do what needs to be done so that you reach your goals. It all starts in practice. Many times players that have suffered a few losses lose motivation to work hard. And, that is the ultimate mistake. Rarely putting in less effort gives you better results. Your practices must be more focused, more detailed, and more specific. Make sure you are hitting the areas that need attention.
As you approach the next tournament or competition, you must also prepare mentally to succeed. Remind yourself of all the wins you've had in the past. Tell yourself you can win. You have won before. Have a confidence script with you, where you write five or six sentences that lift you up and remind you that you have played a lot of matches before. You have hit a million balls and you have put the work in and you are ready to compete. Read them daily. Memorize them so that when you are playing, and the negative voices start to talk to you, you recite your confidence script over them and ultimately shutting them down.
Lastly, you must understand, you can't win if you are afraid to lose. You cannot succeed unless you go out and try your absolute hardest. Playing with fear causes your feet to stop moving, and your racket to stop swinging. So, you must focus on your footwork and your racquet acceleration so that you make sure you are executing your shots.
Winning tennis matches is never a guarantee. But you do have the power to give yourself the best chance to win. So go out and play with courage. Play with energy and intensity. Play with discipline and under no circumstance you let it go. Fight for every ball and fight for every point.