With the first league match of the season coming up this Thursday I strangely found myself feeling anxious about it as it neared.
It wasn't my usual optimistic, "just have fun out there" vibe.
Would I get nerves and start blowing serves? Would I deviate from my mental strategy and lose focus?
I was feeling the pressure and couldn't wait for the match to be over. I was thinking about all the wrong things.
What started as a fun way to play matches, travel to new clubs, and meet new players suddenly turned into a chore for some reason. It was time for a reboot.
So here's how I got my head back on track. Here is how I absolutely can't wait for that match - and here's how you can do it too.
We're lucky to even play at all
While it's easy to get caught in the intricacies of the game and string gauge, we have to take a step back and remember just how lucky we are to even play - at all.
A lot of people never even get the opportunity to try to play tennis.
Many don't get an opportunity to improve, or don't live in an area where they can play. Let alone play competitively.
So while we're complaining about someone hitting junk balls or too many drop shots, just remember how lucky we are to even be here.
Try to see just how good we have it and things will start to get real good for you.
If you play tennis, you have it good.
What's the worst that could happen?
Accept that the worst score outcome is you lose 0-6, 0-6.
You accept it, learn from it, and improve.
Maybe the other player was on fire that day and has been working at it harder than you. Maybe you aren't as in shape as you thought you'd be right now. Maybe it's time to put more work in.
Accept that even though scores can be embarrassing, you're still playing tennis.
And if you're playing tennis, you're winning either way. At least you're not stuck at work.
Get to a good place
We want to play our best, but we can't get there unless we're in the right mindset first. You have to be coming from a good place beforehand.
Take a minute to remember those unforgettable fun sessions with friends that got us here. Let those memories and that positive vibe be the core of your thoughts.
For example try turning that nervous thought of "what if I choke and embarrass myself" to "my goal is to truly have fun out there and enjoy it".
With the primary goal of having fun I'll be able to relax and hit free, and laugh off the shanks.
Good always wins, my friend.
View this post on Instagram
Today was a great reminder of how important our friends are to us all! - I met up with Ernesto at the North Park courts to do some fun hitting and catching up on a sunny Saturday. I wasn't playing too good today so my buddy suggested we just play some fun points and nothing too serious. - Instead of getting frustrated and down about my game, we decided to take a walk down the street and grab some coffee at Calabria. We played some ping pong in the back and talked about old times and laughed about how bad my serve was and how far it’s come along. - I thought about how years ago he saw I was the new player at the club and took the extra time to help me out with my game and teach me. It reminded me that tennis goes so much beyond the strokes and the strategy, and is so much about reaching out to new people and helping them. - As we walked back to our car down the sunny palm lined sidewalks, I felt so much better, didn’t even care about the poor game from earlier. It made me remember just how awesome the people in this game are, and how important they are to us. They take us to places we could never go alone. - Have a great Saturday, I’m nothing without you all ✌️ P.S. get the cafe Viennese it’s legit - #cafecalabria #sandiego #friends #tennislife #tennisplayer #northpark #saturday #tennislifestyle #tennisunderground #tennisandcoffee #vibes #tennistime #coffeeshop #positivelife #tshirt #smallbuisiness #tennisclothing #riseandgrind #lovelife #branding #storybranding #vaynernation #instatennis #tennisnation
It's all about perspective
So over the past couple days as I've been incorporating these ideas I feel like the weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Now we can focus on the good mental stuff like mentally rehearsing winning strokes, and visualizing yourself as a winner.
My main goal is to have fun and walk (hopefully not limp) away with a smile.
Maybe even put smiles on other people's faces.
So what's your trick for dealing with these upcoming matches? Let me know, I'd love to hear it.
See you out there.