When you "go for your shot" and then miss the shot, you have
two possible reactions. The first reaction shows a positive
mental attitude. You think, "I'll make it next time, I will
continue going for my shots." The second reaction is more
negative. You think, "I'm going for my shots, but I'm still
missing. I should stop trying." Which one reaction is yours?
Do you have a pessimistic view of your misses or an optimistic
view of your misses? Are you mistake oriented or solution
oriented? I hope you are optimistic and solution oriented. If
not, there's still hope!
To improve your mental ability to go for your shots, you must
change your mind focus from the physical battle to the mental
battle. Playing a match is not a battle between you and your
opponent, it's a battle between YOU and YOU! The YOU that
concentrates solely on the physical battle and the YOU that
concentrates on the mental battle. If you lose the match, but
win the mental battle, you've won! If you say, "that's fine
but I still lost the match," you are once again focusing on
the wrong thing. When are you going to wake up and get with
the program?? Forgive my scolding, but YOU are the only one
who can change yourself.
The physical part of winning is the easy part. It's the mental
battle that's tough. Would you like proof? Have you won any
matches lately? I'm sure all of you have. Whether you won or
lost the match, how many of you consistently won the mental
battle? I'm afraid, not too many. The mental battle is where
the real war is taking place. You must CONSISTENTLY
concentrate on winning the mental battle. Give yourself the
freedom to go for your shots and if you miss, ACCEPT IT... AND
THEN MOVE ON. Going for your shots does not mean to pulverize
the ball every time. It is not being too careful and not being
afraid of failing.
Stop confusing yourself by playing in too many different gears
of thought. You are switching from the "go for your shots" gear
to the "kind of go for it" gear, to the "I'm being careful"
gear, then to the most disastrous "I'm a basket case" gear. Keep
it simple. Think in one gear only: the "go for your shots" gear,
whether you win, lose or draw.
Now, get out there, go for your shots and lose. You say, "that's
not very positive." And I say, "you're still not getting it!"
Going for your shots IS positive. YOU are the one making an
issue out of losing. Your mind is still focused exclusively on
the physical battle. You need to think positively; don't sweat
the small stuff. Tennis is first about winning the mental battles.
All great competitors LOVE THE BATTLE. Whether you win the match
or not, the mental victory means big time trouble for your future