Most sports elevate one’s emotions, both for the competitors and especially for the spectators. Tennis is no difference and as a player it can be highly emotional winning or losing against your opponent.
It is a singular sport where one cannot rely on team members to help you through the game (unless in doubles) and often the mental strain can be draining.
Quite often players that can channel their emotions during the heat of matchplay often is the only defining factor that determines the winner.
Andy Murray was well known for his negativity on court, and like many artists Murray can be an obsessive perfectionist and too often he would become overwhelmed with frustration at his inability to reach the levels he set for himself.
However, under the guidance of Ivan Lendl, Murray slowly replaced his teenage demeanor with a more resolute focus that we all know became a foundation for success.
Thomas Enqvist rarely showed his emotions on court, this was a useful tool to keep his opponent guessing. Enqvist commented “I don’t think anybody deliberately sets out to control how they appear on the court,” he went on to suggest that most of the emotions were an impulse, and an impulsive person was more likely to show it on court.
Personalities often change as a person gets older, and the mental side of tennis is more important than it ever was in this most competitive of eras and it’s one of the reasons why some players are peaking in their late twenties and early thirties.
David Ferrer is known to most tennis fans as somebody that has a fierce work ethic and an iron will to win. However, the young Ferrer was a different character entirely being tempestuous whose on-court tantrums drove both spectators and his coaches mad.
There was a famous story that on one occasion the petulant young Ferrer was locked in a locker room by his coach with only bread and water. This was the start of his inner reflection and his development for the better.
How To Manage Your Own Emotions
Remind yourself that the first emotion is not always the best emotion. If a call has not gone your way, pause to reflect if and how you want to challenge.
Focus on what is next, not what just happened. Looking back will compound your frustration and take more valuable energy.
Use your daily routines, such as deep breaths after a point, this will help you keep focused and to leave what has just gone behind.
Keep positive, talk to yourself with encouraging ideas and advice.
Accept what has happened, be it a line call or a bad shot, by accepting the misfortunes you are well on the way to managing them.
Practise these traits at your club, either in matchplay scenario or when you are taking lessons from your coach. Keeping control and developing into a more mature person who is focused will definitely be of advantage. Not just playing tennis nut in all walks of life.