May 11, 2016
The Will to Win is Nothing Without the Will to Prepare
I still remember the situations where I'm coaching a tennis player for my team at a change over where the match is obviously not going in their favor. The player is distraught and even in tears. They cannot believe they are losing and have no idea what to do about it. 99% of the time it has nothing to do with the match but what lead up to the match. My player is obviously competitive and wants to win but unfortunately, he/she didn't put in the preparation to have an opportunity to win the match. My question is simple. "What do you expect when your opponent has obviously put in more time to prepare for this match than you?" Harsh? Your call. True? Absolutely. The best thing you can do in that situation is understand you have nothing to lose and try your best. There is nothing to get upset about. To put it more simply; I haven't met a really good tennis player that just picked up the racquet for the first time and said, "this is easy!"
This leads us to how to prepare for an upcoming tennis match. The first thing to keep in mind is that you opponent is dealt with the same situation. They more than likely have other obligations that need attention (family, job, etc) so both of you have to figure out what kind of training is feasible. I like to look at it like this:
Both situations from the picture above shows that time is something you cannot control. If you have a match in two days, then you have nothing you can do to change that. Just like the Eagles say, "Time keeps on ticking into the future....." So the only thing you can control is the amount of repetitions you get in ("R") before your competition. This takes dedication and a lot of drive. This explains why most players are upset with their match performance!
So the two options you have is to put in a lot of reps to prepare for your match or not. If you chose the latter, just don't get upset with the outcome. If you feel that you did put in the necessary reps but still didn't get what you wanted one of two things happened. Your perception of what preparation was needed for your match is skewed or your practice isn't "effective and efficient." That will be a talk for another time :) For now, figure out what kind of preparation you need to do the best you can for your matches this season. This mindset will put you in a better state of mind during your matches as well.