Competing gives tennis players a chance to check their skills in an unpredictable environment. They have to deal both with the quality of their own performance, as well as with the game of their opponent, who has exactly the same goal as they do – to win the match. Since there can be only one winner, there are situations when we have to accept that we were an inferior player.
Everyone wants to win. That’s the essence of sport. At the beginning stages of development, having fun and improving are important factors but for any ambitious athlete, sooner or later, willingness to win is the booster that propels them every day to wake up and plan their training. Of course, thinking just about the winning can be detrimental to player’s development but wanting the win is actually a positive trait that can help players in many areas.
Tennis is the game where players have to adapt to different factors all the time. They have to check their own performance to see what “weapons” they have on a given day. Then there are also aspects related to the opponent who can come up with better preparation or who just makes smarter decisions under the pressure.
Pressure. Another influential factor. Some players cope with it better than others so they are able to adjust faster and reduce negative impact of pressure on their actions. Adding weather conditions, variety of surfaces and balls, and also different locations of tournaments, we can clearly see that player is constantly tested and the winning is not the easiest task to achieve.
Winning is great but losing is also part of the sport. Players who don’t accept losing most of the time are not able to get to the highest level because their mind is occupied with unfavorable results for too long. Losing should not stop players from reaching next steps in their tennis careers.
1. Lack of analysis
When the match is over, players are out of the tournament. There is no doubt that it is not the best feeling in the world. However, if you just finish the tournament with nothing more than just losing, you actually “losing” much more.
Every match should give you feedback about your current performance and future actions. Especially the lost one. If you lost, it means you played less effectively than your rival. When you are emotionally ready, sit down and analyze what happened. Look for necessary short-term corrections as well as for bigger problems that you should address in your career plan.
2. Lack of professionalism
Professional players do the same actions no matter the score. If they win or lose, they know that after the match they have to stretch, use foam roller, take a shower and eat a recovery meal. Unfortunately, a lot of players have difficulty with these simple actions when they are down after a lost match. They don’t have the motivation to do these necessary things. They forget that as soon as they finish one tournament, they actually start preparation for the next one. Not taking care of a good-quality recovery and post-match actions can result in poorer training performance and can also lead to injuries that will further hinder preparation.
3. Emotional decisions
Emotions are and will always be related to playing competitive tennis. After a lost match, players have the right to feel sad, angry or disappointed. However, good players understand that emotions are not their best friend, as they make them do what is easy and comfortable, and not what is right and helpful.
Players have to be careful how emotions influence their actions right after defeat — breaking three rackets in front of other players, eating junk food or firing your coach are not the smartest options to digest a lost match. Take your time, cool down and take decisions that will help your career – not your ego.
Losing is part of winning. To win great tournaments, we have to firstly lose some to learn, improve and at the end succeed. There is actually nothing wrong in losing if we approach it properly and if the lost match leads to making us stronger and more effective tennis players. You should revise your actions after a lost match and if you are the one who makes the actions from the list above, you should quickly change your behavior and think and act as a professional player. No matter the score.