The deep fear of losing
Tennis players fear the result. Fear the embarrassment of losing to someone who has poor technique and makes no great shots. Even worse, the shame of losing to someone you always beat or someone with a lower rating than you, lower ranking than you or perhaps just lower status based on your perceived tennis CV’s.
Fear and more fear prevents the whole spectrum of players. From club competitive players through to all junior and senior tournament players are inhabited by this fear.
The fear of what might happen before it even begins. The justifications made to yourself after a tough loss where you feel embarassment for your performance, regret for your conduct and a stomach ache from the humble pie.
I have played and coached for 30 years and still get the fear of losing, even in friendly matches. Its ridiculous but realistically it still happens in my mind, but a much much lower degree. My challenge is to help others start to reduce their fear.
Tiny chance of a win
- Vs much better player = no fear, mindset of ‘nothing to lose’ but low expectations to win. You will often be crushed easily but will claim that lots of games went to deuce!
Good chance of a win
- Vs slightly better player = small fear, particularly if against someone you have lost to before and lack belief that you can beat them. The insecure will hope that if they lose, they will at least be competitive.
Good chance of a loss
- Vs slightly lower player = high fear, anxiety high with decent chance of losing to them. Choking happens here and high degree of frustration and emotional instability.
Tiny chance of a loss
- Vs much lower player = low fear, you know you can just get the ball back and ‘hack’ a victory even though you will be disappointed with playing like that. Normally you totally need to lose your mind to lose to a player much lower but its possible!
So who is your next match and how is your fear factor?
By putting your focus on areas that you can control such as working hard, preparing early, getting good sleep and warm up etc, you will slowly improve your mindset and your game and more importantly you will enjoy yourself more.