What is pressure?
Everyone has to deal with pressure one way or another, unfortunately there is no way to completely avoid those stressful situations in life. How do you feel under pressure? How do you perform under pressure? Psychologists say that nobody performs well under pressure. We may think we do but in reality our performance is not as good as it could be.
I often feel the pressure when I am on the court. I feel like people around me always expect me to win all my matches, no matter what.
I feel like if I lose, everyone will be disappointed in me. It is a feeling, not a reality, but when I think this way I get all tight and start playing extra safe, which is not my usual aggressive style. As a result, my game suffers and I end up losing the match. So I wonder what should or can I do when I feel pressured?
Recently at one of the tournaments, I lost a match and I immediately thought Oh no, this is so embarrassing, everyone will now think that I am a weak player and won’t respect me at all! Then I turned to my coach and he told me that I played well and my opponent simply outplayed me that day. It made me feel a lot better to know that people who mean the most to me are not frustrated or upset with the result of my match. Of course, a win is always better than a loss but somebody very wise once said: “We never lose, we either win or we learn.” And I learned a lot from this match, probably more than I would have learned from it if I ended up winning it. My coach gave me some excellent technical pointers but on top of it I realized that it really doesn’t matter what people may (or may not) think of me in a situation like this. I know what I can do and I know what I need to do in the future to achieve better results. And those who care will always be there for me, will support me and will be proud of me and we will continue the journey together. I also learned that I need to focus on the task, not the outcome (and the task is to stay calm and positive and play my A game). I learned to understand that there are factors I can control and factors that are out of my control. I learned that playing a tennis match is not (and never will be) a ‘do or die’ situation so I should just relax and enjoy the game of tennis which I really love.
With all this said I promise to never play to learn J So now I will go listen to music, breath and get ready for the next tournaments in which I will succeed. Until then!