Ok, yes I do have a thing for stories with wolves. I've been connected to them regardless if I liked it or not with my last name....but, I do have a point here. There's an old Cherokee story about a man teaching his grandson a lesson on life. You can read it here. I want to use this story as it relates to the struggle we have on the tennis court. I'm not talking about the struggle with your opponent but the one between your two ears.
We Remember Bad Stuff More Than Good Stuff
There is a great article that talks about how we humans are geared to feel stronger emotions towards negative happenings than positive ones. I know this first hand with my youtube channel. I've had the majority of people make kind comments about the videos I post but there are a few that rip me to shreds on things they feel are not communicated correctly. I didn't realize there were so many tennis pros out there that are concerned about what I have to say! Although I have learned to shrug them off, they still hurt more than the positive comments. I'm sure you can relate to this in your job or a relationship you have. It's not fun to be criticized and we tend to remember it more.
Back To Tennis
Circling back to tennis, you may see where this is going. A great shot you had is easily dismissed compared to the bad shot you made a few points ago. This negative emotion you felt when you blew an overhead is stronger than the one you felt hitting a nice forehand winner. If you let these negative emotions build up, it will cost you a lot. First, your opponent will love the fact that you're getting frustrated and give him/her hope in winning the match. Also, you tense up. This makes it hard to play good tennis (you will see in a future video of mine). Lastly, it's wasteful energy. Murray changed to a more positive player on his way to becoming #1 in the world.
How To Be More Positive
First of all, it's awareness. Don't think that saying you have to be positive is going to fix things. Be a third person observer to your thoughts and realize how negative you really are. Feel how tense you become. Take responsibility for your emotions and try to realize that it is natural to feel more anger after a mistake than it is to feel happiness after a great shot. It takes time but once you see the benefits of being positive, you will not want to go back to your old negative self. I know I won't be!
Conclusion: Think Of Emotions As Clouds
In the book, Social Animal, the author uses a great analogy for how we can control our emotions a bit more than we think. Consider when you have looked up into the sky on a cloudy day and imagine different clouds becoming real life objects. You chose the clouds to fixate on to make them into whatever creative object you wanted. It was your choice though. This is the same for emotions. During a tennis match you will have a lot of emotions passing through you. It is your choice and your choice alone to fixate on certain ones. Try to be observant with your emotions in relation what I mean with this the next time you play a match. It might be the difference maker in winning or losing!
Video #2 On Unique Workouts For Tennis: Shoulder Mobility