How to Avoid Repeating a Defeat

Question: I have been playing tennis for a long time.

My problem is this: in practice I have very good shots and also play matches well, but there are some people that I always lose against.

I feel nervous and out of control. What can I do to prevent or overcome this?

Answer: Let's first try to understand why this nervousness happens and why you lose matches to the same people and what are the best possible solutions.

1. Your mind predicts the future based on the past.

That's what our mind (or brain) does all the time. It has this logic inside which is not always true.

The logic is: in these circumstances this and this happened so whenever there are similar circumstances similar things will happen.

In your case the repeated circumstance is the same opponent. Since you lost to her before, your mind predicts that you will lose again.

So there is an image of you losing to her in your mind and you will play in a way to confirm the image in your mind.

Solution: Don't believe your mind.

Use logic or just let go. Decide what you want more: to win a match or to be right.

Right meaning that you already feel that you will lose a match so if you win, you will prove yourself wrong.

2. You have too much respect for your opponent.

You may see your opponent as very good (maybe they are or maybe it's just your perception) and yourself as not so good.

As I once told one of the players: these are only opinions and not facts. Some people would be ecstatic if they had a forehand like yours and you might feel that it sucks.

Solution: Play the ball not the opponent.

Take your opponent's past results, their behavior and their presence out of your mind and play tennis.

When the ball comes over the net, play it somewhere where it is tactically correct regardless of your opponent.

Play points and try to win them instead of playing a match and trying to beat your opponent.

3. You will lose acceptance – love of your opponent.

In most cases, iff you beat someone, they won't like you. In my experience this is the case with 80-90% of the people. Ego gets hurt and most people don't want to be shown their weaknesses.

You subconsciously feel that, and are afraid to play really aggressively and win the match.

Solution: You have to make a choice what you want more: to win a match and risk less acceptance and appreciation from your opponent OR lose a match and have them like you since you helped them confirm their superiority feeling.

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