If you play the beautiful, frustrating game of tennis, you are well aware of the games it can play with your mind. Here are the top 10 things every tennis player has thought on the court:
1. “How am I losing to him/her?!?!”
It’s the age old question… You are playing against an opponent that you think you should beat easily, and yet… you are losing. Perhaps they are a frustrating pusher, or maybe you are just having an off-day, but no way should you be losing this match. Unfortunately, this is just the mindset that is almost guaranteed to make your plight worse. Try and reset mentally, and stick to your game plan. It’s not over ’til it’s over!
2. “This game is easy, I should go pro!”
On the roller coaster of emotions that is a tennis match, this thought usually happens at one of the high-points. Whether you just hit an incredible highlight-reel winner, or are on the verge of upsetting an opponent who may be better than you, we have all thought of ourselves perhaps more highly than we should. This is a good thing! Ride these positive waves of emotion whenever they come about, and keep the momentum rolling!
3. “Move your feet!”
We know every shot starts with footwork, and yet we yell at ourselves constantly when we forget this and miss an easy ball. Easier said than done, but the remedy for this is simple… move your feet!
4. “Don’t double fault.”
This one is the kiss of death. It is break point, and you have to hit a second serve. Rather than confidently stepping up and hitting a solid second serve, you toss the ball up and think, “Don’t double fault, don’t double fault!” This almost always results in… you guessed it, a double fault. Try and think positively in these situations. Sure, it is easier said than done, but try not to let that thought even creep into your mind!
5. “If they moonball me one more time, I’m going to jump over the net and spank them with my racket!”
Nobody likes playing a pusher. It can be about as frustrating as anything on the court. You try and quell your rage as you get moonballed time after time. Remember, losing a match to a pusher is better than an assault charge!
6. “If I don’t make this shot, I quit!”
Your opponent hits a weak, high bouncing short ball. It’s an opportunity for an easy winner, and yet, as you move forward and get set up for the shot, you are thinking about how mad you will be if you miss it. Don’t allow those thoughts into your mind. Step up, and put the ball away, just like you are supposed to. No negative thoughts!
7. “Why would I try and hit an overhead from the baseline?!”
We’ve all been here. You get a high ball at the baseline, and try to crush an overhead winner, only to hit the ball in the bottom of the net. You know it is the wrong shot, but you hit it anyways! You know better! Maybe you’ll make the right decision next time…
8. “My grandma can get lower than me!”
Getting down for any shot, be it a groundstroke or volley, is the key to executing most shots in tennis. Yet, we stand straight-legged and make unforced errors with frustrating regularity. Your grandma, in fact, cannot get lower than you… but it sure seems like she could in the moment!
You are confidently engaged in a baseline rally. Rather than sticking to your gameplan, you let your mind wander and think, “What would Federer do?” You picture one of his signature cross-court, flick-of-the-wrist backhand winners, and think you have that in your arsenal. Bad news, folks. You probably don’t. Don’t try it, unless of course you are up two breaks and 40-love.
10. “Merry Christmas!”
This is easily interchangeable with “Happy Birthday!” or “You’re welcome.” After you commit an easy unforced error on a put away ball, you feel like your opponent should thank you for the early Christmas gift. You’re not Santa Claus, so cut it out!
We hope you enjoyed this fun post. Tennis is a crazy game, and that is why we love it! Did we miss any common thoughts you have on the court? Let us know in the comments section!