Emotional Intelligence

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Serena Williams showing emotion (c) Getty Images

by Angelo A. Rossetti, USPTA Elite/PTR Professional, USTA HP & Mental Skills Certified & 2x Guinness World Records™ holder 

Emotions typically cloud judgement. There is a time and place for emotion in athletics. Typically before or after competition but not during it. Since it is not possible for you to experience an emotion and have a thought simultaneously, choose your thoughts wisely. In a match, if you are nearing the end, you have to focus on the present. If you focus on the future that can cloud your judgement.
There is an example where an Olympic snow boarder was in first place and started to celebrate by show boating on the last easy jump and fell. She finished second to her demise although she should have won gold. Her future thoughts created emotions that clouded her judgement, which led to her failing to complete the last jump and win first place.
There is a discussion of athletes developing “emotional intelligence.” What does that mean? Simply stated it means that you are able to control your emotions or remove them from the moment so that you can think clearly about your tactics and strategies.
Implementing your game plan takes logic and emotional control (i.e. emotional intelligence). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t compete with emotions or heart but there is a time and a place. Knowing when you should allow your emotions to show or put them on hold so you can think clearly marks a true champion, someone who posses emotional intelligence. In tennis if you celebrate too much on your small victories you may berate yourself when you make mistakes. What goes up must come down. If you try to keep your emotions in check, both positive and negative, like Roger Federer does so well, then your outcome will be closer to what you want it to be. If you keep your emotions in check and use them only when you need them, then you will experience a better result.
I’ve used emotions to come back from big deficits because I needed more than just my game plan and I’ve also kept emotions away when I was about to close out a big match because I knew that if I got too emotional or thought too much about the future I won’t be able to execute in the present.
Remember that there’s not just intelligence in competition but emotional intelligence. Separate your emotions from your thoughts and you will become a better athlete.

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:

Our Inspiration – 2 World Records 2 Minute Video
FOX News Story
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
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Emotional Intelligence

Situational Errors

murraysolympics=blogby Angelo A. Rossetti, USPTA Elite/PTR Professional, USTA HP & Mental Skills Certified & 2x Guinness World Records™ holder 

4 all first set Murray serving in the gold medal match of the 2016 Olympics. Double fault. I’ve always said that double faults aren’t all created equal just like errors in any sport aren’t all created equal.

It appeared as though Andy Murray had a situational double fault. He missed his first serve well long and hit an extremely slow middle of the box serve into the middle of the net.

It was an unproductive DF (double fault) rather than a productive one.

It seemed to have been hit without much purpose besides “just get it in” or even worse “don’t double fault”. Don’t get me wrong, Murray ended up pulling out the gold medal win and got past some situational mistakes.

It happens to some of the best athletes in any sport. Shots that you can make “in your sleep”, that you make day in and day out in practice, somehow leave you when you need them most.

Usually over-thinking the score or letting your mind wander to the future or to the past causes these hiccups.

In golf they call them the yipps. Shots that are so bad or misses that are so poor that it takes a special skill to pull them off.

I’ve seen servers in tennis miss so badly that the ball actually bounces before hitting the net or hitting the backstop on the fly.

Emotion vs Logic. Head vs Heart.

What happens on big points or in big situations is that the player starts to think about the gravity of the situation. If you find yourself in an Olympic final on the verge of back to back golds, your mind could want to thoughts like ‘I’m close to closing out this set. If I do and end up winning this match I may end up doing what no one else has in the history of the Olympics.’

Thoughts like these can be helpful to get you fired up prior to the final, serve the purpose of getting your attention and getting you prioritizing extra practice but during a match typically cause negative energy. More productive thoughts aren’t situational at all. ‘This is just another serve. You’ve done this a thousand times. Success is following through.’

The more you remove your emotions and appeal to logic the better chance you will have to avoid situational errors. I’ve coached players who have difficulty closing out games, sets or matches. One way to approach this challenge is to pretend that you are two points away. Almost forget the score. Then when you arrive at match point you would have already won.

The concept of using your head and not your heart, using your thoughts not your emotions need practice to make permanent just like a solid forehand.

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
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
Make a Donation

Situational Errors