James Blake: How to Put Loses Behind You

Tennis Psychology

Leaving Your Matches on The Court

Do you beat yourself up after you’ve lost a match? Do you have a hard time forgetting about your losses or matches where you’ve played poorly?

If you do, you might define your self or person (not player) based on your tennis performance. You essentially attach your self-esteem to your tennis performance. This is a common mistake that many tennis players make.

When you define your self based on your tennis performance in matches, you might use tennis as a way to boost your self-esteem, or feel better about yourself.

But, what happens when your tennis game isn’t working the way you want it to?

You don’t feel good about yourself. You can’t forget your losses or matches where you played poorly.

The key is to learn to separate your self-esteem from your tennis performance.

This isn’t always easy to do, but James Blake has mastered how to get past his losses…

Blake recently lost to Gonzales at the BNP Baribas Open in the third round.

“When I get off the tennis court, I put it behind me. I have to put the losses behind me. I think you have to do that, especially at this age. I beat myself up so much the first few years I was on tour, and, you know, still get pretty upset at myself. But I’m doing much better job now hopefully tomorrow putting it behind me and not worrying about it. Just forget about tennis for a day or two, and then get back to the practice court and worry about getting better, not worried about what I did poorly today,” said Blake.

Mind training for tennis can help you separate how you feel about yourself as a person from your tennis performance.

The key is to realize you are a person that happens to play tennis, not the other way around.

Tennis is just part of your life, and does not define your life.

Try to find a balance in your life.

Find other hobbies or activities to help you define yourself outside of tennis. You can also think about who you are as a person, not just a tennis player. Think about the characteristics of your personality. Are you honest, decisive or easy going for example? These exercises can help you think of yourself as a person and not just as a tennis player.

As Blake says, you have to leave tennis on the tennis court. Many players bring home their poorly played matches with them. They might over-analyze their mistakes, second guess their strategy or beat themselves up. This of course doesn’t help your self-confidence for the next match. You might be still thinking about your previous loss.

You can re-visit your match later on when you feel your negative emotions have settled. Review your match objectively. This can help you learn from your mistakes, develop better strategies and improve as a tennis player.

Your Tennis Psychology Tip For Today

Leave tennis on the court. Learn who you are as a person rather than just an athlete. Learn from your losses rather than dwelling on your poor performances. Understand that you are more than a win/loss record, you are a person on the inside!

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