April 10, 2009

Finding the Fun in Losing

First, I want to say I won yesterday. I didn't lose, which is a nice change for me lately. But while I was really happy to win, I felt sorry for my opponents when they lost. I could just tell they were having a bad time and were not enjoying themselves at all when it became clear which way the match was going to go.

Now last week I too lost in tennis. I played a great doubles match where my partner and I ultimately lost 7-5, 7-5. But my partner and I played so well that, even though we lost, I walked away feeling great about my tennis game.

So how do you make sure that you're having a good time even when things don't go your way? How do you stop yourself from whacking your $200 racket on the court after a bad match? How do you find the fun in losing?

1. Don't focus on the negatives. Look for the positives. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, there are probably a few things that go right. Maybe you get a high percentage of first serves in. Maybe you successfully serve and volley several times. Maybe you are wearing the cutest tennis outfit that day (a good reason to keep ahead of the tennis fashion curve). Celebrate what went right for you when you lose.

2. Learn from your mistakes. As much as you may hate it, it does help to go back through the match you lost and figure out what you did wrong. Did you choose the wrong shots? Was your court positioning wrong? Were you unresponsive to what your opponents were doing? Even your losses should teach you something and help you improve.

3. Learn from your opponents. Try to figure out what your opponents saw in your game and how they used it to win. Or, if you feel like they didn't try to (or didn't need to) analyze your game too closely, think about how your opponents played and what made their game hard for you to handle. Example: I like to play aggressively up at the net. An easy way to win against me is to play a very casual, lobbing game and make me run around. Because I've noticed myself having a hard time with ladies who play this game, I try to be much more conscious of it and I also have tried using the lob more myself (although I still would rather be up at the net volleying).

4. Don't dwell on your losses. If you're going to enjoy yourself in tennis, if you're going to just SURVIVE week to week, you have to accept that you are going to lose every once in awhile. Even when you play an incredible game, your best game ever, you may lose. So you need to learn what you can from those losses and move on. Don't give up on tennis when you find yourself in a losing streak. And don't break that $200 racket!

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

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