Anger on court is something we all know is to be avoided, but is a natural instinct when things tend to go wrong.
And frequently bouts of “Racket Rage” appear on every tennis court in the world. Even the pro’s are not excluded from this blight, even though they are fully aware that it is detrimental to their game.
Top players such as McEnroe and Nastase are famous for their on-court tantrums, so much so that some kids actually copied their madness. “You cannot be serious” became a household catchphrase during the 70’s and 80’s.
Anger is an unfortunate and inevitable part of life, so it is a simple fact that you must learn to control it.
Controlling Your Anger
Firstly you need to recognise that you are beginning to lose control, and anger is starting to show its ugly head. You need to recognise this is what is happening to you as early as possible. In other words don’t let the fire catch hold.
If you feel a swell of emotion, break the pattern. Take some time to reign in your anger and regain composure, a few deep breaths or take a walk around the court perhaps. Sometimes this will be enough to calm you down and let the moment pass.
You also need to try and analyse why you are getting mad, and can you do anything to prevent it? If a particular shot is not working then try an alternative tactic.
Be comfortable with drawing a line under the moment, if something bad has happened simply accept it and then move on. Focus on the next point and don’t dwell in the past.
Tips To Keep Your Composure
Work on your anger management, tennis is meant to be a pleasure not a chore.
- Control your breath – if you take time to breathe slowly it will help to settle your mind and release tension in your muscles. Taking long lingering breaths will send messages to your brain that things are okay.
- Slow down – when things are not going to plan it is a natural reaction to speed up. But when you rush your shots mistakes tend to happen. Try to develop a few habits to slow your game, perhaps fiddling with your racket or adjusting your sweatband. Anything to give you time to calm yourself down.
- Enjoy your own company – don’t constantly berate yourself. Give yourself regular pats on the back for anything you do successfully. Keep on talking positively, this will help you relax more.
- Go back to basics – when things are going wrong, simplify your game. Go back to the shots you are comfortable with until you have calmed down.
Racket Rage never helps you win matches, when anger shows its ugly head things will go wrong. You need to work with your tennis coach how to defeat Racket Rage, and how to add protective measures into your game when you are getting mad. Once you have mastered your emotions you will be amazed how much more enjoyable the game is.