How to Cope With Cheaters on The Court
Do you struggle with your emotions and focus when you are playing an opponent who is clearly cheating?
Here’s a recent question I received from one of our readers:
“How do you manage an annoying opponent; a cheater or a player who does things to disturb the opponent? And it’s not always easy to deal with this during a match without a referee nearby.”
Some of the tennis players I work with are good at dealing with cheaters and it doesn’t bother them. However, other players tend to struggle with their mental game.
- They get frustrated with the opponent and it affects their thinking on the court.
- They lose focus by thinking too much about the bad call on the last point.
- They might even start to change their tactics to keep the ball inside the lines.
- They get irritated that the opponent is doing it on purpose.
- They feel helpless if no referee is around the courts.
Obviously, if this sounds like your reaction to cheating, your mental game is not working well for you…
Focusing too much on your opponent, dwelling on the past, or becoming frustrated will not help you perform your best.
I can remember when my daughter played a girl that was known for cheating during the match. It would bother her so much, she hated player this girl.
She would become so frustrated that she could not play her normal game. I could see her face turning red and he routine speed up.
She felt that the officials had no effect on her opponent and did not help. The moment the official left the court, the opponent would continue her cheating ways.
What’s the best way to cope with cheaters on the other side of the net?
One thing you can try is to bring your opponent to the net and tell her that the ball was clearly in and to please call a fair match. And if it happens again, you’re going to get the official.
Put your opponent on notice that you can clearly see what she is doing on the other side of the net.
Most importantly, you can’t allow her cheating to get into your head and you become frustrated. Your game will unravel because it leads to over hitting or playing too safe.
The reason why you are frustrated is because you think it’s unfair and all players should be fair.
Keep in mind that no one in perfect and can call perfect lines. And if your opponent is trying to cheat on purpose, she thinks you’re a better a player. So take confidence in that fact.
After you discuss the point with your opponent, they next step is to slow down and take your time with your routine between points. You don’t want to rush!
Make sure you let go of thinking about your opponent and the unfair call before you start the next point.
If you need help with managing your emotions or dealing with challenges on the tennis court, please check out our personal mental coaching programs.
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What are our mental coaching students saying?
“Maggie had such a great weekend. As always, after she works with you she just seems more grounded and focused. She’s less likely to look around and get distracted during her match. She’s more focused on one point at a time. Also, as a parent, I’ve learned to encourage her process goals and not outcomes. Consequently, she played well and won her first doubles match, upsetting a seeded team in a really really close match!”
~Katherine Johnson Cannata, Maggie’s mother
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~Mike Withers, Joe Withers son
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~Melanie Lewis, Junior Tennis Player