Dealing with those “Bad Days” on Court

It’s inevitable. As tennis players, we all have those days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or we are in a bad mood! We might feel angry, cranky, sad, or tired. Days like this get in the way of playing our best and often impact our teammates in a negative way.

What can we do?  Well, it’s important to have a plan to deal with these “off” days. I’d suggest spending a little time creating contingency plans on how to deal with bad moods, lack of focus, low energy, or being too “amped.”

In a bad mood? 

  • Listen to upbeat music and practice imagery of a good day
  • Seek out humor – find a funny teammate or listen to comedy in the car
  • Flood yourself with positive self-talk
  • Wear a big smile – even if you don’t feel like it!

Need focus?

Remember, that what you focus on grows, so if you keep focusing on negativity or distractions, it will only get bigger in your mind. The trick is to give your mind something else, more constructive to focus on. Examples include:

  • Feeling each muscle while you stretch;
  • Watching the ball so closely that you see it rotate
  • Exhaling every time you hit the ball.

Feeling Low Energy?

At times you will need to raise your energy level prior to practice or a match. If you need to psych yourself up, try:

  • Warming up faster or hitting the ball harder
  • Using dynamic mental imagery of you playing with energy
  • Listening to upbeat music
  • Finding a place where you can yell or scream to activate the vocal chords and possibly the body

Feeling Too Amped Up?

And then there are times you will need to calm down just prior to walking on the court. If so, try:

  • Listening to mellow music or a relaxation program
  • Doing progressive muscle relaxation
  • Taking long, deep breaths
  • Using calming imagery
  • Meditating for 5 minutes
  • Stretching
  • Sitting quietly with your eyes closed

Despite our best efforts to properly prepare for every match, we WILL have those off days.  The best thing you can do it push through it, never giving up and willing yourself to keep fighting. Sometimes we can take those clunker days and make them wins despite it all. Always keep fighting!