How To Handle Your Emotions During a Tennis Match
Do you respond to bad calls, mistakes and missed scoring chances with verbal outbursts or by smashing your racquet?
You have probably been told by your parents or your coach that your emotional control is the reason you have lost some matches that you should have won.
Your coach probably even lectured you on the importance of staying calm and relaxed on the court no matter what happened during the match.
Most likely you nodded in agreement…
You know that your emotions have taken you out of your game…
You know you need to keep it together but you just don’t know how. Maybe you believe it is impossible for you to maintain your composure; it’s just not in your DNA.
Well if you understand the root cause of on-court outbursts, you may be better apt to create a plan to minimize the number of times you react in a negative manner.
The main emotion responsible for on-court outbursts is frustration.
Frustration is the strongest emotion that humans experience and, for that reason, some tennis players react to that intense emotion with extreme behavior.
Fear is another negative emotion, which can come in several forms but these different fears are all related. Fear of failure, fear of making mistakes and fear of not living up to the expectations of others can have devastating consequences for any tennis player.
If you were to examine your fears, you could learn to better manage your emotions throughout a match.
One of the more intense tennis players on the tennis circuit is Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios is well known for his verbal assaults against ball boys, referees and tournament hosts, as well as his inappropriate comments towards his opponents.
Kyrgios won his first ITF junior tour title at the age of 15 and turned pro at 18 years of age with the highest of expectations.
Australian fans have high hopes that Kyrgios will be the first Australian to win a major since Lleyton Hewitt won Wimbledon in 2002. That is a lot of pressure to heap onto a player!
During his 2016 Wimbledon match against Andy Murray, Kyrgios imploded and seemed to have conceded the match to Murray.
KYRGIOS: “I think when things get tough, I’m just a little bit soft… I don’t love the sport. But, you know, I don’t really know what else to do without it.”
Australian sport psychologist Deidre Anderson, who has consulted with many of Australia’s top athletes, attributes Kyrgios’ outbursts to fear.
ANDERSON: “You feel like you’re doing this on your own. Nobody understands you. Your fuse becomes short and shorter, and he [Kyrgios] has got no fuse at the moment. The bravado and the anger is caused by not feeling safe. It’s fear.”
If you start working through your fear, you will experience less emotional intensity and fortify your ability to manage your on-court emotions.
Try this tip to get a hold of your emotions during a match:
The best way to manage your emotions during a match is to work on staying composed and mental skills before the tournament even begins.
Ask yourself, “What is my biggest fear in regards to my tennis performance?”
Start examining where this fear originated.
Understand your personal hot buttons when you play tennis. What triggers your negative emotions? How can you change your old reaction to a new one so you can stay composed and not let it derail you?
Are you (or your players) performing up to your ability in competition?
Do you bring your best and most confident game to matches?
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