Coping with Mistakes: Tennis Mind Training

If you play tennis, mistakes or missed shots occur every time you play. This is where your mind training for tennis comes in very handy. In my experience as a mental game coach to tennis players, many players sabotage their own performance because they simply can’t let go of bad shots, unforced errors, or double-faulting for example.

Missing shots, double faulting, or blowing a big lead in a set happen often in tennis, but become a huge burden for many tennis players because it affects their game as they begin to make more mistakes and become more frustrated with their performance. Sometimes, it can cause players to blow the rest of the match because they simply can’t stop dwelling on the missed opportunity or mistake.

You’ve probably made a few mistakes during a tennis match when not playing your best that you were NOT able to quickly forget. You thought about that critical mistake for the rest of the match. I’m sure this did not help you enjoy your day and may have caused you to give up or tank the match.

Dwelling on mistakes is your number one distraction in tennis today. Most players can cope with external distractions, such as outbursts from an opponent easily. However, it’s a lot more difficult to cope with your own distractions caused by dwelling on a missed opportunity or faulty shot.

Can athletes use anger to help them perform better? Rarely, but it can happen. The best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, gets angry on the golf course, but he is able make it work for him and not lose his composure. Tiger uses setbacks to help him focus better and be determined to make up for the mistake.

Why does a tennis player’s mind stay focused on past errors? Hitting a bad shot does not match what you expected of yourself. It’s that simple. You want to be at your best every point and think you shouldn’t make stupid mistakes, right? Some players may even display their anger or disappointment on the court in an attempt to show others they are really a better player than what’s happening.

When a tennis player’s mind begins to dwell on a mistake and gets negative with his performance, it is very hard to stop the negative cycle. It will unusually cause players to avoid committing future mistakes, which is not the ideal mind game for playing in the present moment.

The best tennis minds in the world use mistakes to help them learn and improve. They use mistakes to be more focused, more determined, and have a more committed mind game for tennis. They can let go of mistakes quickly so it does not affect them for several points or even games.

If you want to learn how I teach my students to let go of errors and improve their mind game for tennis, I suggest you pop on over to and read about The Composed Athlete: A 14-Day Play for Maximum Composure.

Learn how to boost your composure and mind game in tennis!