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Decoding the Tennis Formula of Failure

Updated: Jun 5

In our pursuit of success, it's crucial to understand the formula of failure. This formula applies not only to tennis but also to various aspects of life. By recognising its elements, both players and spectators can identify its presence. Let's break down this formula and explore its components:

My weaknesses: Every player acknowledges their weaknesses, which can be either realistic or perceived. Realistic weaknesses may include factors like height or a slower second serve. However, it's important to differentiate between reality and exaggerated self-perception. For instance, a couple of double faults or a few winning returns from the opponent does not imply inevitable failure.

Opponent's strengths: Similarly, players assess their opponents' strengths, differentiating between realistic attributes such as speed and a powerful forehand, and unrealistic assumptions like expecting them to hit winners off every short ball.

Circumstances: The circumstances surrounding a match can play a significant role. When players assess themselves and their opponents, they often begin with a hopeful mindset: "If everything goes according to plan, if I play well and my opponent makes mistakes, I have a good chance." However, as soon as a few circumstances go against them, such as a bad call or a lucky net shot, doubts start to creep in. Suddenly, their weaknesses seem magnified, the opponent's strengths invincible, and circumstances overwhelmingly negative. This shift in perception hampers their self-belief.

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It's essential to recognise that beneath anger lies fear—the original emotion. Fear of losing, fear of criticism, fear of pain, and more. The root of this problem lies in the mind, which has a tendency to predict based on collected data and draw logical conclusions. However, the game of tennis is not governed by logic, math, or physics. There are numerous factors at play—momentum changes, lapses in concentration, nerves, unexpected events, luck, and other variables—that influence the outcome. Conclusions drawn by the mind are not definitive truths.

To overcome this formula of failure, we must reprogram our minds. We should absorb information without attaching infallible conclusions to it. Learning during a match and receiving feedback are essential, but emotional attachment to conclusions must be avoided. Everything is probabilistic, and generalising outcomes can lead to self-defeat. Instead, focus on staying in the present moment, avoiding imaginary games with superheroes or predetermined outcomes.

Our power lies in the now, where we can exert control over our actions, not the final outcome. Acceptance of ourselves and the unfolding events is key.

When engaging in a match, give it everything, accept everything that transpires, and play without trying to predict the future. Embrace the present moment and exercise control over your actions, playing courageously and decisively. Remember that even the best players cannot guarantee the outcome. Realising this truth and embracing acceptance allows you to perform at your peak, unfazed by negative events or emotions. Achieve the freedom to excel in your performance.

By decoding the formula of failure and adopting an accepting mindset, you unlock your true potential in the pursuit of excellence. Experience the joy of playing tennis without being hindered by emotional fluctuations and overcome any obstacles that come your way.

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