I have played tennis with hundreds, if not
thousands of people. Through the years I have seen people
get mad, frustrated, disappointed and much more! I have seen
people verbally abuse themselves, hurt themselves and hurt
others. The two things I have noticed over and over again
is that no one likes to play tennis with people who lose their
cool on the court, and no one plays better tennis when they
I am writing this article as someone who
used to (and sometimes still does) struggle with anger on
the court. I am a very competitive person and I hate to lose.
What frustrates me the most is when I am the one throwing
away all the points. It is much easier to deal with a better
player outplaying me. Regardless what the rhyme or reason,
almost 99% of the time I have seen people get mad, I have
seen the level of their game diminish, mine included.
Not too long ago I had picked up the racquet
from being off of the game for several months due to an injury.
Of course I knew that I would not be able to play like I wanted
right away, but for some reason I cannot accept that very
well once I step on the court. To say the least, I was getting
mad, very mad. Almost every match I was in a bad mood, talking
to myself, yelling at myself and putting myself down. What
makes all that even worse is that I was usually playing doubles
so not only did my opponents have to listen to me, my doubles
partner(s) did too. I was bringing the enjoyment of the whole
game down for everyone.
As I get older I realize that winning is
not everything and that you have to have fun playing the game.
I have 2 jobs, a wife, kids, a mortgage payment and I manage
this website by myself. I have enough stress in my life as
it is and if tennis is going to be an added stress then I
should just let it go. Tennis is for fun, and probably most
people reading this article do not make their living from
tennis. So why do we insist on getting so mad when no good
comes from it?
I have been making the change on the court
to stay focused and play better tennis. Let me tell you what
I have done to make the change for myself. I have calmed down
on the court, a lot! I have more fun, I am more relaxed, and
guess what, I am actually playing better tennis. I still miss
shots, but it is so much nicer when you can just shake it
off and move on to the next point. Getting mad on the tennis
court does not resolve anything. If you are upset or disappointed
in the way you played, take it out in your training and not
in your match. If you want to play better tennis, do not get
mad, instead keep your cool, focus, fight, but have fun doing
it. Even if you still lose you can say you had fun playing!
Allow me to offer up some advise that has
helped me and I hope can help you. Before you even step on
the court think about how you want to play mentally. Tell
yourself to just play your game and to focus on the next point
rather than the previous. Know ahead of time that you will
not allow things to bother you on the court. Know you will
be a mental rock, work through your problems and focus on
what you can do better. If you lose, it can only make you
stronger for next time. Preparring ahead of time has helped
me to refocus during bad patches in my play and helps me move
on to the next point.
I would like to recommend 2 sources of information
that can help your mental game. A decade ago I read a book
called "The Inner Game of Tennis" by Timothy Gallwey. I highly
recommend this book. If you are struggling on the court mentally
(with anger) this would be a good book to read. It helped
me and my game. Another great source for mental tennis is
Tom Veneziano's website - TennisWarrior.com. Tom has, in my
opinion, one of the best instructional tennis websites and
he is always eager to help. I encourage you to tap into both
resources if you struggle mentally on the court.
Remember, just because you do not yell at
yourself or get upset does not mean that you cannot be intense
and play with all you have. Even though I may be more relaxed
I am still as intense as ever when I play, you just won't
hear about it. Take a look at how Rafeal Nadal plays. He is
one of the most intense players out there. What helps to make
him so good is that no matter what he gives it all he has
each point. As soon as a point is over, win or lose, he moves
on to the next point. So next time you think you might blow
your top, just stop, refocus and see if you can be the better
Good Luck on the Court!