by Angelo A. Rossetti, USPTA Elite/PTR Professional, USTA HP & Mental Skills Certified & 2x Guinness World Records™ holder
The thing about competitive tennis and all sports is just that – it is “competitive.” And where there is competition there is the dreaded score keeping. Score keeping by definition means there will be a “winner” and a “loser.” This adds to the pressure and therefore the nerves. The issue with the complex score keeping of tennis is the fact that each game has a beginning and an ending. The score is not cumulative like soccer, football or basketball. You win points in an effort to try to win games. The cumulative count of games helps you close out a set but the match isn’t over. It doesn’t matter how even or lopsided the score is after the first set – if you won it you are up a set, if you lost it you are down a set. The margin of victory or defeat by set is irrelevant in regards to the score. Learning how to play freely, without being paralyzed by the score is so important to success in tennis. What holds tennis players back is thinking about the past score or the future score rather than focusing on the moment at hand. If you just lost the first set 6-0 or you lost it 7-6 you are only down a set. The score of that set is irrelevant to the point at hand. Playing freely may mean assertively or aggressively to some and consistently or patiently to others. It means to lose yourself in the moment, relaxing, having confidence to know that you can hit your shots to the best of your ability while enjoying every moment. It sounds easy to say but it can be difficult to do.
In regards to enjoying the process, statistically speaking if you play an opponent who is at your level then you can expect to win 50% of the time. With that said, it means that if you pin your enjoyment to only receiving a “W” with the outcome then you will be disappointed half of the time. If however, you play YOUR game, focusing on “controlling the controllables” you are more apt to enjoy the process, play better tennis and ultimately achieve much more favorable results. Holding your enjoyment of tennis hostage unless you win is a good way to hold back your tennis potential and enjoyment of the game.
I always welcome feedback at angeloarossetti @ gmail .com.
You can learn more about a couple of tennis GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ that I have been a part of:
FOX News Story
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
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