5 Tips to Playing Matches Against Friends

Anyone who plays women league tennis knows that we can be quickly reduced to junior high school in the way we behave and react to one another. But the other side of the coin is that women’s team sports do breed friendships, even if they’re not always lasting ones.

Once you move up in ranking or join an uber competitive team, last month’s BPF (Best Partner Forever) is likely to become this month’s mortal enemy number one. Alas, the world of women’s tennis can be a fickle one. Teammates change teams and move on to new clubs and clinics. It’s a simple fact of life in a competitive world. Don’t take it personally.

Advice #1: It’s just a game. The most important thing to ALWAYS remember when playing league tennis is, no matter the stakes (post season play, tri level teams, tournaments), that IT IS JUST A GAME. And a very fun one at that. So get out there and play your game.

Advice #2: Leave your sensitive emotions at home. They have no place on the court. You are there to play a match, have fun, get exercise, compete hard, and go home to your real life: the one that way more important. If you end up playing against a former partner, give her a smile or hug, be cool, and strategize with your partner as to how best to beat her. Nothing personal. It’s just tennis.

Advice #3: Don’t let the awkwardness affect your game. Get strategic. In some ways, you have some advantage because you probably know her weaknesses and strengths and can plan accordingly. On the other hand, she knows yours as well so get prepared to defend yourself. Again, it’s nothing personal. It’s just tennis.

Advice #4: Get out of your own head! This is a good time to practice your mental toughness exercises that will help you stay focused. Use your mantras as if you are in a pressure point and carry on! Don’t let her antics or pulls on your heartstring deter you. Stay focused and calm.

Advice #5: Be a good sport NO MATTER WHAT. Make good calls (even if she doesn’t), be polite and hand them the balls, shake hands nicely at the end while looking in her in the eye and say “good match, thank you.” You will feel good about yourself no matter the match outcome if you take the high road. Remember Michelle Obama’s call: when they go low, we go high!