“Today just wasn’t my day.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
“I could not get going.”
Sometimes we all feel this way on the tennis court. The reality is that there will be matches where we just never get into a good place and lose. However, if we understand what is really going on when we are struggling — we might be able to turn struggle into victory. Remember, most of the best comebacks in sports occur after a very slow start or with an individual or team not having their best stuff at first.
What causes the feeling that it is not our day…
- Struggle with long games
- Struggle with 2nd serve returns and double faults
- Struggle with easy finishing shots
- Cannot get comfortable with our movement and playing defense (cannot “steal” a point)
- Struggle with 30-30 points
What is the effect of these feelings on us as tennis players…
- Creativity and versatility become bad decision making
- Positive emotions become negative or sarcastic energy
- Feeling that a match can turn in your favor at any time becomes match can get away from you at any time
- Intentionally play long points where you do not make an unforced error. Your opponent can hit a winner but no unforced errors. This will help get you into rhythm even if you lose the point.
- Visibly demonstrate positive emotion
- Ready steps before serves and returns. Jog to and from change overs.
- Change up your routine, put on a hat, take a hat off, change your grip — do something different…anything.
- Run some quick pressure plays
- Do you struggle with early matches? Get up earlier, extend your dynamic, examine what you are eating or drinking before the match.
- Do you struggle with night matches? Rest more throughout the day, hit on the wall before you play, isolate yourself and listen to some music or something that gets you feeling energetic.
- Do you struggle with certain conditions (particular opponent, court surface, location, weather)? Focus on yourself — not the opponent. Play the ball. Ignore the surface or location — play like you are playing at your favorite court. With all weather concerns — high % is king.