Edberg on handling difficulties [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Edberg on handling difficulties

07-30-2007, 01:22 PM
[In response to a recent poll on how important is the mind in tennis, I think the following excerpt is very meaningful.]

Stefan Edberg's response to this question [of how the mind is involved in tennis] drew out several important elements of the process of handling difficult situations. The performers must know what they want. In Stefan's case it was to change his performance to put himself in with a chance of winning. He has to be aware of what's going on, then look at what his options are for change, then finally take responsibility for executing his plan. He said, 'The most important thing is to have belief that you still can win even if you're down. Winning from coming back once, believe you can do it twice, believe you can do it again, and again, and again, which is very important. Everybody can play when they're playing well, because it's running for you, it's easy. But when things are going against you, then the mental aspects come in. Can I still win? Do I believe I can come back? Yes I do. I never give up, because I know there is a chance that I can come back. And when you're out there and everything is going wrong, you've really got to start thinking. What can I do? What have I done? What's gone wrong up to now? What can I do to change the situation? During the game you've got to be thinking. In tennis you have ten, fifteen, twenty seconds between points and one minute in the change-over and you've got time to think, and that's what I think is the wonderful thing about tennis, there's no coaching allowed. You've got to do it all yourself. Nobody can help you. You're just out there by yourself and you're going to have to think and change things yourself. It's a lot easier if someone else tells you, who is watching, but from my experience, most of the time I know what to do. Sometimes you can't do it because it's not your day. You can't change your game too much but obviously I try to do different things.'

Source: Hemery, D. (1991, p.147). Sporting excellence. Chatham: Collins Willow.