byAngelo 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: