how to prevent fear -
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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how to prevent fear

hello everyone, I am currently a 11th grade male in high school. I started tennis last spring and even got to be rank 13 of 35 on my high school team. I got a varsity letter and was pretty happy... I grew such a love for the sport.

Then summer came around and I played a lot... and i mean A LOT. I improved significantly. My goal since the beginning of the summer was to be top 8(ultimately top 5, but i would be content with top 8) this year. (our #1,#3,#5, and #11 all graduated)

Anyways, based on the summer, I would be projected to be #9 this year. But when winter rolled around, it didn't stop me at all. I continued to play A LOT with my one friend who is also competing for a high rank.

With that in mind, I improved roughly the same amount from summer to this winter as I did last spring to last summer.

My competition on the other hand, hasn't been playing. My recent results show that I have it in me to be about rank 6.

Last night I tied our projected #3, a week ago I tied our projected #2. Also a week ago, I 6-0'd our projected #5 in the 1st set. (I went on to lose 2nd set and a very close superbreaker, but I am positive I'm better than him.)

So I'll start getting to the point... I've read many articles about the mental part of tennis and I feel my mental game is fairly solid now. However, the one aspect I have a lot of problems with is fear of failure. I am very confident in my ability to hit all strokes and I am also confident that 9 times out of 10, I can beat our rank 6-8 players. What scares me though is I have this fear that I could lose to someone worse than me when tennis season rolls around in a month and a half.
At my school, there is a BIG difference between top 8 and top 9. Top 8 get's to consistently start and also gets to participate in a really fun weekend tournament towards the beginning of the season.

In conclusion, I am confident in my ability to be at least top 6, however I still have some fear that I could lose to #8(#'s 2-9 are really tight)and end up not getting to be top 8. All of the work I put in would be for nothing.

Does anyone have any tips on how I can play my best and not let any of this distract me from just playing hard?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2008, 09:52 PM
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Re: how to prevent fear

sounds dull but you ve got to stop thinking unnecesarily.. just focus on the good things, and if things go bad, just try to force yourself to stay in the game

"let's focus on holding serve.." for example.. just limit yourself to one thing..

you just got to start thinking you can win.. even the top 1 player

just try to see the good stuff and forget about the bad stuff, just focus on success and not on failure.. hold on to the scoreboard when you re winning and forget about it when you re losing.. if you get bvroken, remember it is only 1 break, you can always come back from a break.. if you had trouble with your serve and manage to go through..turn it into something to make you stronger..
if you got broken, just think you were close enough.. and so on.. you just gotta stay in a winning mentality.. and make all doubts and loser's thoughts go away..

if you dont believe you re capable of winning even when you re down, you wont win

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-24-2008, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: how to prevent fear

i just wanted to say that today i tried something different and it seemed successful. Lately I've been playing really nervous at all times. I was playing our school's #2 player and was down 1-4 because I was playing really scared. It was about 20 degrees out. But when we changed sides, I took my coat and hat off.

For whatever reason, that triggered my brain to stop thinking so timid and be more positive and confident. I developed what I like to call a smile in my head. I've noticed that when I smile in my head, I become cockier and reflect it. I'm one of those people that could 6-0 someone and still not feel confident verse them. Smiling in my head allows me to believe any shot is possible, any error from them is possible, and any situation can be handled.

Sounds stupid, but I figured I would share what I learned to this thread, considering I started it. I went from being down 1-4 to tied 4-4. I could feel the positive attitude in my streak. I went on to lose 4-6, but he is a better tennis player than me and I am happy how I played at the end.

I just thought I would say that whether the shots are good or not, being confident about your skills is all you can hope for. Your body flows with your attitude. If you "know you can win" in your head, your body will play strong and not scared.

sorry for long thread, hope it was useful.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-25-2008, 10:31 PM
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Re: how to prevent fear

There is some very good advice in this thread. I just try and focus on the positives, that works for life in general. Be realistic, there is a chance you can win or lose, you might as well give it a good shot, no need to get negative. It's okay to be demanding of yourself or get angry, but you can still be positive. No point in throwing away a match, you can produce good stuff, you aint gonna get everything perfect but you are capable of doing yourself justice and playing good tennis so again you might as well give it a good shot. The feeling of playing a great point is brilliant. Love the game, it's okay to get emotional (and obviously every player is a bit different as regards to emotions etc) you can definately walk off the court with positives win or lose. Self-belief is a help, if you are running low on it you can surprise yourself. You can get the best out of yourself, give it a go!

EDIT: More important than what I've said above, play in the moment - the only point that can matter is the one that you're playing, it's easy to think ahead or look back in a time when all you need to do is focus on the current point.

Last edited by StevoTG; 02-05-2008 at 12:21 AM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2008, 05:48 AM
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Re: how to prevent fear

Heh, the mental game, the funnest thing about tennis. Once you start thinking on court, you are in trouble. That is probably why a lot of pros start extremely young so that they end up just seeing tennis as a "sport" and not a competition. Sadly, there isn't anything anyone can do to help you become mentally stronger. It isn't like go lift 50 lbs all this week and next week you can lift 60. Once you start seeing the game as just a game, the mental fears start disappearing. But once you see tennis as a competition, the fears of winning/losing will start setting in. You have to either go out there in matches just having fun or having the confidence that you will win.
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