It’s easy to think that one or two setbacks necessarily equals many setbacks, or setbacks forever.
Our team’s main tennis season just ended, and I have to say, I really struggled with winning. Translated: I lost a lot.
In the end, I came out 4-3, but still the momentum of loss took its toll mentally on me in a way it hadn’t before.
I love to think that, like a Bruce Lee mantra I heard in a biopic about the legendary martial artist, each new point is an opportunity to win.
Thankfully, I won the 4th match last night in a 2-hour singles match that was scheduled for 6pm, then 6:30, then for Wednesday (we’ve had lots of rain), then back to 6pm yesterday. Oh and then outdoors before having to go indoors thanks to nightfall and all the mosquitoes that survived the great flood and the ark.
Still, for some reason last night, every time I goofed – mostly my serves – I almost couldn’t erase it next time I gave it a go.
But there were a couple of huge differences too from recent struggles to win.
It was a singles match. It was all on me – scorekeeping (for which I’m notoriously terrible in doubles), calling line shots, ball girl (of course – this ain’t Wimbledon). I alone owned the outcome (scary and exhilarating at the same time).
Good thing I had done some pre-match self-preaching, mostly on the basics of tennis:
- Play my game,
- Watch the ball (turns out this is tricky in the dark),
- Visualize winning the point,
- Move my feet; and
- Don’t be afraid to change things up (pace, strokes, serves).
I also reminded myself to play one point at a time. Eventually, the score would tilt in my favor, right?
Also last night, I learned something about myself and my mental game:
- I can, in fact, adjust on the fly – assessing what’s not working and either change my approach to it or eliminate it altogether.
- When I’m “in the zone,” I know exactly what to do, and if I stay focused, my envisioned solution is usually effective.
- Settling into the match and to my rhythm is crucial to winning for me. If my heart rate is up and I’m distracted, it’s going to be an uphill battle. If I play like I’m in practice, it’s all good.
Maybe the curse has come to an end? I’m going to say it has and that now I’m in a position to keep it that way. On to the next season and another opportunity to win.