MENTAL TOUGHNESS IN TENNIS: OVERCOMING THE BLAME GAME

Dr.Robert Heller

I recently received an e-mail that was written by a tennis player on the excuses she had heard people make before, during and after matches. The vast number and type of excuses were overwhelming. I first laughed, because they were both true and funny. Then, I felt kind of sad about people’s difficulty in accepting responsibility for there own action and the results they experience. As a sports psychologist, I often work with clients on this very area. It is only when you can recognize what you are doing and its impact that you will have the awareness and motivation to change.

Here is a partial list of excuses identified by author, Vivian Lax.:

“ I’M NOT GOING TO PLAY WELL TODAY BECAUSE:

I didn’t sleep last night.

I slept too much.

I overslept.

I under slept.

I’M NOT GOING TO PLAY WELL TODAY BECAUSE:

I have a backache.

I have a headache.

I think I twisted my knee. elbow, wrist or big toe.

I have a pain in my arm, neck, stomach or shoulder.

I tore my fingernail.

I MISSED THAT LAST BALL BECAUSE:

I lost it in the sun.

I lost it in the shadows.

I was standing in too close.

I was standing too far back.

The net is too high.

The net is too low.

I hate this surface.

The list goes on and on but I think you get the idea.

Excuses allow us to feel less bad about ourselves. By blaming something or someone else for  our imperfections we try to protect our fragile egos.

Next time you catch yourself making excuses have a conversation with yourself and essentially say, “Get real. It happened. You did it. So, you are not perfect. Deal with it. Move on.!”

For comments on this article or additional information on this topic contact Dr. Robert Heller at www.mentalskillstennis.com.

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