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March 2020 Article

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The Other Side of Failure

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Tom Veneziano

Players should be aware that there is a lot of good on the other side of failure. Let me explain. Most players reach the point of failure, put on the brakes and do not think their way through to the other side. Their minds become cloudy with emotional thinking, and they begin a negative freefall. In essence, they stop and sit in emotional turmoil. They avoid the invaluable lessons failures offer that build the mental toughness necessary for future match challenges. All of these lessons reside on the other side of failure.
 
Let's suppose you are in a match or you are having a training session. You miss a few forehands, some backhands and a number of serves. This happens again and you become annoyed. You mentally stop, become emotional and think, "I can't win a match with all these mistakes. What am I doing wrong? I must stop making these mistakes." From there you become tentative with your strokes and hypersensitive about your mistakes. Every mistake from then on becomes mentally internalized. You think, "There I go again, another miss. I'm going to lose if I keep this up." You are firmly parked in an emotional environment of failure. Now everything that happens will be filtered though this emotional environment that you and you alone have created. Disaster looms!
 
To help you understand, imagine you are walking over a bridge partially covered in fog. Everything is clear as you begin. Halfway up the bridge, you walk into the fog. The fog lasts for about fifty feet. All you have to do is continue to walk through the fog to reach the other side. Instead, you panic, sit down and stay in the fog. As far as you are concerned, everything is foggy and this is the way it will stay.
 
This is exactly what many players do in the fog of failures. They emotionally just sit there! If they would just stay positive and keep moving, eventually the fog would clear and they would be on the other side of failure.
 
What can players learn on the other side of failure? Let me start with this. Pros have missed forehands, backhands, serves and many other shots in match play and practice, but they can still win! Did it ever dawn on you that it is not the misses or failures that make you lose but your mental attitude toward those failures? You insist on emotionally stopping in the fog of failure, never learning what is on the other side.
 
On the other side resides a clearer view of failure. On the other side resides a clearer view of where you are going. On the other side resides belief in yourself. I CAN make it through my bad times. I CAN win despite my mistakes and failures.
 
On the other side of failure mental toughness becomes part of your inner arsenal of mental weapons. You no longer fear mistakes or failures. In fact, you welcome them as an opportunity to set you apart from the other players. You are mentally tough and you know it!
 
Final point: If you decide to embark on this journey to the other side of failure, pack well but leave your emotional baggage behind.
 

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This column is copyrighted by Tom Veneziano, all rights reserved.

Tom is a tennis pro teaching at the Piney Point Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Tom has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with his Tennis Warrior System.

     

In Tom Veneziano's book "The Truth about Winning!", tennis players learn in a step-by-step fashion the thinking the pros have mastered to win! Tom takes you Step-by-step from basic mental toughness to advanced mental toughness. All skill levels can learn from this unique book from beginner to professional. No need to change your strokes just your thinking.

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