If you’re frustrated by losing…and feel like no matter HOW hard you work or how much you improve that you’ll STILL end up humiliated by losses that hurt and just don’t make any sense (especially when you lose to players who are simply not as good as you are…)
…then you are a victim of one of the biggest lies in tennis.
I’m here to tell you today that you are NOT alone, that it’s NOT your fault, and there is a better way — one that will allow you to perform like a superstar every time.
When I ask tennis players, “Why do you fall short in big matches sometimes?”, they almost always say something like, “I’m not exactly sure.”
In other words, they have literally been ‘kept in the dark’ about how to perform like a champion and win, match in and match out.
While this may shock you, it’s no accident.
You might be surprised to learn that there is a conspiracy of silence in sport about this issue. Let me explain…
Have you ever watched a player like Federer, Nadal, or Djokovich put on an incredible display of mental toughness under pressure?
While they chat in interviews about the importance of mental strength, they never actually disclose their real methods.
This is 100% deliberate. And, these superstars have NO intention of letting the cat out of the bag, either.
It would level the playing field and lose them millions.
Unfortunately, this has convinced most tennis players that it’s not possible to be a confident champion and perform your best under pressure every time.
They think that shining under pressure – and winning – is a bit of a ‘crap shoot’.
It’s one of the biggest lies in tennis, and believing it is the #1 ugly mistake most players make that cripples their performance.
“Okay, but where does that leave me?…It’s not like I’m going to kidnap Djokovich and ask him to spill his secrets.”
Of course not.
All you need to do is AVOID the two ugly mistakes virtually all tennis players are making that cripple their performance and cause them to lose (I promised you one ugly mistake, but if you really want to excel, you need to avoid these two).
The two ugly mistakes start innocently enough. You’re playing and then out of the blue, something happens:
I can’t believe I missed that shot!
Getting behind in a set really throws me off.
My coach never compliments me.
Taken alone, none of these events is a problem. None of them actually mean anything. They are merely neutral events that happen as you go about your day.
Such events only become a “stressor” if they trigger STRESS (fear) in you.
What fear, you ask?
Fear that you’ll fail. Fear that you are not good enough. Fear of embarrassing or humiliating yourself. Fear of being criticized or shamed by parents and coaches. Fear of letting everyone down and being an outcast. Fear of never reaching your true potential, even after years of hard work.
The list of what tennis players fear is endless.
Think of these fears as an invisible wound. Whenever a stressor shows up in a match, it scratches your invisible wound – your fear – and creates stress in you.
That’s why, if you’re not mentally prepared, your stressors will cause you to lose your confidence and perform horribly…without you even knowing what happened.
Because when athletes become afraid, we do what all human beings do: we go into FIGHT or FLIGHT mode.
If you are like most athletes, you are obsessed with winning. You’re thinking about how to perform well and look good. You’re especially obsessed with not choking.
Maybe you’ve been there yourself. I know I have. Many, many times.
Therefore, when you become stressed out, you have a strong impulse to try and CONTROL everything: your confidence, your performance, and winning.
This leads to PRESSING.
When you press, you over-try. In an effort to get back in control, you force it. You forget to let the match come to you.
Instead of trusting your body’s natural genius, you interfere with (and sabotage) your performance.
You interfere with your technique rather than letting your body lead. Maybe you try to guide and steer the ball. Maybe you try to put away every shot rather than play out the rally naturally. Maybe you just over-hit the ball.
The problem with PRESSING is that the more you try to control an outcome, the more it slips from your grasp. The more you PRESS, the worse you perform, and more you lose confidence.
Athletes don’t always react to fear by PRESSING. Sometimes we go into flight mode and FOLD instead.
FOLDING is an attempt to flee stress by under-trying. You become passive and flat. Rather than attack aggressively, you lay back.
You stay inside your comfort zone; you stick to shots you “know” you can execute.
FOLDING is another classic human response to fear. It’s basically a giving up response. Since we’ve tried and failed in the past, we decide there is no point in trying again.
This is called pessimism, or the tendency to think the worst will happen.
Psychologists have actually proven that most of us are pessimistic most of the time.
You think I exaggerate? Even superstars FOLD sometimes. In 1992, Pete Sampras lost the U.S. Open to Stefan Edberg and started to question whether he had the perseverance to win.
“Throughout the fall, I kept harkening back to the loss at the Open to Edberg. It was eating away at my guts…I kept thinking, “If he didn’t play well, and I didn’t play that well, why did he win?”
And the answer dawned on me, slowly, over a matter of weeks. For the first time, I understood and could articulate the truth: I lost because I had packed it in. And it was part of a pattern.”1
The truth is human beings are not built to persist. We are built for instant gratification. If we try to succeed but encounter setbacks, we tend to give up and FOLD.
FOLDING sabotages you because to excel and win, you need to be aggressive. You cannot coast over the finish line if you expect to win. The more you lay back, the less you succeed, and the harder it is to believe in yourself.
The bad news is that virtually all tennis players (including probably you) are making these two ugly mistakes on a regular basis.
The good news is I’ve seen tremendous results by showing my students a radically different approach to avoiding them and achieving greatness virtually overnight.
We focus on the one element of your game you have complete control over and that will get you playing like the confident champion you always knew you could be.
Once you master the simple steps it requires, you will finally deliver amazing performances on command. Heck, you’ll even have your coach following you around like a lovesick puppy.