How to Control Your Emotions On Court

Now for the punch line: these habits and programmed responses are substantially affected by strong emotion. They are disrupted by negative emotions (and negative thought processes that ultimately produce negative emotions) like anger, depression, fear, and pessimism.

On the other hand, they are helped by positive emotions (and positive thought processes that ultimately produce positive emotions) like optimism, controlled aggression, feelings of confidence, strength and courage. Even when the effects are small, they often make the difference between victory and defeat.

In competition, the top pros spend most of their time between points striving to eliminate negative emotions and create positive ones. This requires an emotional plan and the discipline to implement it regardless of negative events that may occur during match play.

The less successful players allow their emotions to be determined by what is happening on court. This is an unstable and circular situation in that their emotions are controlled by events (which are out of their control) rather than by themselves.

Control Your Emotions on Court

Bad play produces bad emotions, which in turn produce further bad play. The trick in maximizing performance and reducing its variability is for the player to produce positive emotions before every point, independent of what is happening on court.

The easiest way to achieve this is to begin by having no emotion at all at the end of a point. (Don't allow anything that happens on court to shake you in any way.)

Then, starting from an emotionally neutral position, you consciously and deliberately (through visualization, positive interpretation of events on court, self-exhortation, etc.) work to conjure up positive emotions before the next point starts.

This will set the stage properly and increase your odds of playing well when the next point begins.

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