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Hardscrabble Scramble
May 2002 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Recovering From A Tough Loss

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Mike Whittington

Have you ever had a loss that hurt so much you just didn't know if you could continue playing? The kind of match that you wanted so badly but it just didn't go your way? Losing a tough match can be devastating for some players. I've even seem some unfortunate few give up the sport just because of the loss.

The first thing to remember is that it is not the end of the world. There is always a chance to get it back. Of course there are setbacks and you might need to make some changes to your practice routine but you have to stay focused on the goal.

Remember that everyone has bad matches and bad days. I heard a tour player once say that he played his very best tennis only 7 days out of an entire year! The remaining days are days where you just try to minimize your errors and play the best you can. It is important to have reachable goals and playing perfect tennis at every match just isn't a reasonable goal.

Analyze your match and try to figure out why you lost. Did your opponent just play really well or did you bring it on yourself? There are times when you just make too many mistakes and really don't deserve to win. You have to figure what was the cause of your loss and why do you feel so miserable now as a result.

Talk to someone that has been in the same situation. Have you ever been in a team match and been the deciding factor as to the outcome? Most people have and they know how you feel. Sometimes it helps to talk to others and see what changes they made to improve.

The next time you feel like you've lost it all - don't give up! Use some of the points that I've outlined to get back into the game and turn things around for yourself.   The mental aspect of tennis is the most important. However, it can be the most difficult to learn and to teach in my opinion. Learn something from this loss that can make you a better player. You'll find that you lose fewer big matches and you can handle your losses better if you use it as a learning tool.

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


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