Anger management

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by beernutz, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I am pretty sure I need help with my on court anger management. For the most part I get angry when not playing well against players who I think I should beat. By "players I think I should beat", I mean players who I have beaten regularly in the past or those who play at a lower USTA level than I do for example.

    If I'm being beaten by someone clearly playing better than me I'm not so bad but when I'm my own worst enemy on the court I will let loose with some language I rarely use anywhere else in my life. For example, this week I hit a ball long, which should have been easily put away, on a relatively important shot (within the context of a set) against a really nice guy, whom I usually beat. The shot would have won the set which at one time I'd led 5-2 but now was in danger of being tied at 5 all (and ultimately was).

    I blurted out a "F You" which I mean to be directed squarely at myself since I was the moran who hit the sitter long. I felt awful immediately and apologized to him and explained that I was saying it to myself. Although F Me would have been more appropriate, I was too stupid to blurt that one out.

    Keep in mind there was exactly nothing but my pride on the line for this match. It was not a league or a ladder or even against someone I play all that often. I could relay other, similar instances and I get particularly susceptible to these Tourette's-like outbursts when the other player is upping my general annoyance level by, say, not calling the score. That, however, was not the case in the above match.

    Anyway: Help me!

    The sad part is that I don't even think I play any better when I get myself all worked up in a match.
     
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  2. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    1. Before you over-analyse yourself, have you read The Inner Game of Tennis? That book helped me with my on-court conduct a lot.

    2. Next time, try a deep breath, and count to 10. Corny I know but unless you've tried it you won't know the benefits.

    3. Is there anything else in your life that's going wrong? Sometimes we can show anger at something because of something else totally unrelated. If you're really concerned about your on-court temperament is this a mask for something else you need help with?

    Just some thoughts before you spend some precious cash. Hope you get it sorted out soon.
     
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  3. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    Hah! Sorry, for some reason I found your comment about saying "F me to be more appropriate" to be pretty funny.

    Anyway, you've already passed the first step, that is, recognizing that you have anger issues on the court. If anything, that might be the most important step. The fact that you want to change is the second step. You're progressing well!!

    This will take practice, but the next time you find yourself in that situation, recognize that you're in a bad place mentally, remind yourself that no one plays better under that mindset, and I think you'll find yourself calming down when you realize you'll only get worse if you continue the way you are.

    I dunno, sounds pretty simple, but it's worked for me. Keep in mind that a large part of the game is mental. If you allow yourself to become overcome with rage, you're not going to perform optimally.
     
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  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks PMG.
    1. No, but it sounds cheaper than an analyst.
    2. That is worth a try but I'm going to have to put big '10' stickers on my racquet I think to make that work.
    3. This is finals week (I'm giving, not taking, them, but they are stressful on the givers too, believe it or not). I really haven't ever tried to justify/explain my outbursts by associating them with periods of increased stress but there could be something to that.

    Nah, I'm just rationalizing. I need help.
     
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  5. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Boojay. 2 steps down, 10 to go I guess.

    The irony of your signature however gave me a good laugh after I read your very sensible advice though.
     
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  6. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    That's another thing. I smile when I make a stupid mistake on the court now. It sounds ridiculous, but I'm sure it helps in some way. I don't have any scientific basis for this, but let's call it an educated assumption. You can often tell what mood people are in based on their facial expressions, posture, body movements, etc., so maybe the reverse applies as well. Maybe your mood can somehow be influenced by your physical actions. When I smile after making a mistake, it reminds me to settle down and that I'm supposed to be having fun.
     
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  7. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Answer this question:

    Why does missing a shot matter so much to you?

    -Robert
     
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  8. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    Watch the free videos from Dr. Allen Fox on the TennisWarehouse web-site called, "Take it to the next Level".
     
    #8
  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, but your post really made me laugh. Heck, I'm still laughing! Saying "F-You" after a bad shot. That's just funny!

    I have no useful advice. I played like a pile of steaming crap yesterday, and I am positively distraught over it. Missed shots, poor strategic decisions, stubbornness. And I did hiss the "S" word loud enough for it to be heard, so I'm lucky I didn't get ejected from this posh club that was hosting us.

    "F-me" didn't occur to me. I wish it had. It would have been a better choice!! :)
     
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  10. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Robert, I honestly don't know. Like I originally wrote, I get more upset making mistakes against players I *think* I should beat, so perhaps these outbursts are a manifestation of some self-worth or self-esteem issues. My intention is always to direct these outbursts at myself but I realize they could be misinterpreted, particularly the example I gave earlier.

    I'm not sure why I get so emotionally involved in the match that I lose perspective.
     
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  11. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, I'll do that.
     
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  12. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Well F You, Cindy you're a big help. :grin::grin::grin:

    For the humor-impaired, I am trying to make a JOKE here.

    I still can't believe I actually said F You after that shot--that was a first, and a low, even for me. Luckily my opponent is a heckofa nice person and I think understood my frustration at the time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
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  13. bukaeast

    bukaeast Rookie

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    Hey Cindy...

    Careful there

    "F- you" would be expressing anger.
    "F-me" might be construed as advertising :oops:

    Just stick with the generic F- :shock:
     
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  14. quicken

    quicken Professional

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    Man, if I keep in the anger, it adds all up and later results in a racquet smash or a loud yell consisting of variety of swear words including but not limited to the F, S, D, B, B, C, words

    I usually go "WHAT!?" or "GOD" or "WTH" or "OMG"
    If I keep in the anger, it only fuels me more to burn.
    I think its just better to let it out.
     
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  15. Forehand Forever

    Forehand Forever Professional

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    I called a kid a PU**Y once. That was bad, didn't mean to just got angry.

    The way I look at it now is that you're fortunate for playing tennis, some people (like myself) have an injury that does not let them play for a period of time and it makes them want to go nuts and hit tennis balls against the couch in their family room (like me).

    I used to get pissed, broke a racquet last year playing in a school match but I didn't mean to actually. Now I don't think I'll get as pissed because it's not worth putting a bunch of negative thoughts in your head and losing the match.

    Just calm yourself down.
     
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  16. tennisfa

    tennisfa Rookie

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    haha:)

    i once heard a commentator on tv said if you watch federer play, you can't tell if he just won or lost the previous point just from his expressions after the point...
     
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  17. boojay

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    I'm worse than all of you guys combined. I got so mad once that I called my opponent a "pusher".

    :-?
     
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  18. Hot Sauce

    Hot Sauce Hall of Fame

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    Damn, that's pretty bad. If I do swear, I never direct it towards anybody. I can usually restrain myself from even swearing, but sometimes I let out a big "fuuuuuhhhhh" and not even finish it :)
     
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  19. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    ^that reminds me of video of Sarah Silverman & cheese. Awesome.

    youtube it if you don't know what I'm talking about.
     
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  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    It seems like you have intellectually grasped the idea that losing your temper makes you play poorly. From there all you need to do is decide: do I want to win or do I want to make myself feel better when I play poorly? If the former, get ahold of yourself, if the latter, go ahead and spout off and your ego will be soothed as you lose...
     
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  21. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I honestly don't play any better or worse when I lose my temper. I just don't like the loss of control of my emotions for something which is relatively unimportant in the great scheme of things in my life.

    Today I put stickers on my racquets which say 'Count to 10, then smile'. If that doesn't help, I may have to try a pharmacological solution.
     
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  22. rorschack

    rorschack Semi-Pro

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    This thread is funny! I actually play better when I got angry and mad. I was thinking about getting "madder" so I can bring some toughness. My forehand hasn't been on lately, so because I got mad, I hit the ball way harder and found out that I was not hitting the ball out or hard enough. I was being too cute with my forehand. Now it is back!

    Next time you catch yourself being angry...just think about this.."it's only a game! so try to have some fun!" It's not like you're going lose a Grand freaking Slam!:lol:
     
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  23. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You know, I disagree. true you aren't making any money from tennis, but winning is truly important to me while I am on that court. I am emotionally invested enough to really care if I win or lose and if I played better while having a tantrum, I suppose I would have one for that very reason. However like >90% of folks, I play poorly when emotionally upset so I don't get upset because I want to maximize my chance of winning.
     
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  24. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    Well yah, you pegged it right there. One of the main reasons why I don't get as upset anymore is because I realized how detrimental it was to my game. It's not easy to play loose and relaxed when you're angry.

    That, and because I've seen guys act like complete @$$es on the court when they let the rage take over (I'm sure I was a prime example myself).
     
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  25. KK Partizan

    KK Partizan New User

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    I'm sorry to bump a 5+ year old thread, but I'd like some advice dealing with pretty much the exact same situation as OP.

    As with OP, I have the (possibly false) notion that I should be able to beat my friends (4 of us are always playing throughout the summer) and have massive tantrums when * hits the fan (shanked hit, unbelievable recovery or passing shot by friends, bad serving, etc).

    So, what happens after I get ****ed, I start to either take back earned points (called back two aces claiming they were faults - costing myself two games), go for purely power shots that sail out of bounds, and send serve returns back before casually walking to the middle of the court. I view it as my friends getting unbelievably lucky or the Universe being against me so I punish myself (?). Fully aware this is beyond terrible both for the competitiveness of the game (how can my friend/opponent want to play when it's clear I quit) and for the appearance I give off to my friends and everyone else at the courts. Pretty certain I look insane at some points. Also, very lucky they're so understanding and put up with my insanity.

    I can handle losing 6-4 or 7-5 because the games are competitive, but today I was up 1-0 and lost the 2nd game after about 5 deuces (which sounds contradictory, but isn't, it again deals with 'unbelievable luck' in my mind). Once that happened, my body language changed according to my best friend. The rest of the set, I won maybe 5 points. Another good friend has said I'm a front-runner who needs to be leading the match otherwise I pack up (i.e. quit).

    Is there any way to improve this bleak outlook on the game? Obviously we're playing for FUN but my ego can't take it and thus when stuff doesn't go the expected way, a damper is put on the evening.
     
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  26. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    You may do better with getting more responses to your particular issue by starting up your own thread instead of updating an old one - lots of folks may ignore this one when they see the first page.

    By far the best thing that helped with squaring away my head as a tennis player as well as a high school coach was Vic Braden's book, Mental Tennis. I've read this book more than once, loaned it out to more than one friend (caught much positive feedback), and I'm due to read it again.

    Braden is both a lifelong tennis guru and also a licensed psychologist. His book is a few years old, but it's chock full of stuff I wish I knew thirty years ago. Fortunately I can pass some of his wisdom along now to the kids I coach.
     
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  27. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    Way I see it, even people getting paid millions of dollars miss easy shots and they practice almost EVERY day. I'm very competitive, but I don't get angry at all. I make specific mental notes to myself on what is giving me problems so I can try to practice them next time around to fix it.

    If it's a match I will try to adjust on the fly or change tactics to either win or make the other guy earn his points instead of me giving it to him/her. No need to make it easier on the other guy. You also have to remember that sometimes you will have a bad day or your opponent is just plain better than you.
     
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  28. dbusiness

    dbusiness Rookie

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    The first thing to do is to analyze how they are winning. Do they block every ball back like a pusher, rush the net, hit a lot to your back hand. Whatever weaknesses they are exploiting whether it is mental, physical, or playing skill you will always struggle until this is addressed.

    Next is that if you always lose to a pusher than you will have to adapt your style of play being starting to serve and volley or just grinding away constructing the point until you get a shot you can close on.

    Lastly the next time someone is hitting some really "lucky" shots just say nice shot, regain your focus and keep executing your game plan if it's working.

    Really lastly, what ever you do, do Not ever think the set is over until the score says it's so. I have comeback so many times and forced a tie breaker just with the determination that I will try not to give you any point and that any point you have is one that was earned. Believing that you have just as much of a chance to win as your opponent regardless of the score will take you far, once the momentum starts to shift in your favor amazing things can and will happen.
     
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  29. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

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    I am in the same boat.. and surely will always be there.. But, i have come up with some solid management skills for my anger.. No.1.. I turn and walk away.. and... SPIT!.. yes, I used to go to the towel, but now i take a DEEP BREATH and SPIT!.. I realize it is simply the walking away and taking the deep breath with proper posture is what is doing it, but also imagining spitting on the crap I just had to witness, allows me to clear it better mentally.. Try it, its awesome! Also, if I am hating a person watching me play or annoying me.. I am virtually "spitting" on them.. haha

    Second key.. buy a pro staff 85.. Then, U will have the ghost and spirit of PETE SAMPRAS in your hand!!.. With this new power, my normal loss to a pusher where i miss 30 plus approach shots and easy sitters, I now can CONTROL with MASSIVE SPIN and that racket, unlike present rackets, with 2 speeds, fast or nothing.. has indefinite adjustment of power/spin/and speed control!.. So, if I miss a shot, I realize I am REALLY JACKED UP, and just go back to super control spin time!.. And simply let the ghost of Pete Sampras win the set for me!.. And, let me tell you, if you only follow the first tip and keep your current overpowered crap frame, you will continue to go down at the blocking crappola that is the pusher.. My theory of buying the most controlled racket ever made is now a fact.. Beat pusher=pro staff 85... and spitting.
     
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  30. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    I don't have anger issues... but I've gotten really mad one time in my whole tennis career, 3 weeks ago.

    I went against Patrick Kypson in a friendly exhibition. He's a rising 8th grader who is about 4 years younger than me? I got beat 6-4,6-3 in a pretty close match.

    I know how good this guy is supposed to be, but it's frustrating losing to a person who is literally half a foot shorter than you...
     
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  31. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    For some reason tennis is a sport that I do not get upset about. Especially in singles. I go in with the mentality that I am on an island and this game is up to me to play. If I lose I lose, if I win then I win.

    Its doubles and other team sports where I find frustration. Especially when I get the feeling that team members do not feel like they are putting in as much effort.
     
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  32. Tyler91

    Tyler91 Rookie

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    This is a great topic. I love the reference above to Federer...he is stone-cold on the court. Wow...

    A few months ago, I found this article by Florian Meier:

    http://beta.active.com/racquet-sports/tennis-articles/4step-plan-to-stay-calm-on-the-court

    This part of the article was most helpful for me:

    ***
    "...I have asked hundreds of students the following question: Do you think you can play an entire match without any negative body language or loud talking, simply playing each point and following the same in-between point ritual?

    Most of my students will say that yes they can easily do that. So I put them to the challenge and most are surprised they can't make it through one game without complaining about a bad shot or letting their shoulders hang.

    The players that accept the challenge will usually have a real awakening when they finally manage to play an entire set calmly, following their ritual in between points.

    Once you manage to do this a few matches in a row, which is extremely hard, you realize tennis is a lot more fun and you also play much better. Many players even start to feel real inner peace on the court for the first time in a really long time.

    In theory, it sounds simple but in real life it is extremely hard to follow-through with this. Start with one set, then challenge yourself for an entire match, then tournament and so on."

    ***

    I'm getting better at keeping F-bombs under my breath...mostly...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
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  33. RockChalkOhio

    RockChalkOhio New User

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    I get really angry too. But I've learned that expressing that anger on the court is not only encouraging the opponent, but it makes people think you are weird and not want to befriend you. So I wait until after the match, then go into a toilet stall and flog myself repeatedly with a rolled up Tennis Warehouse catalog. It's really the sensible approach to managing your feelings.
     
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  34. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I also let my anger go wild on court... 99% of the time is when i am playing against pushers. Today i played one, and my objective was not to let peep out. I did it for two sets. Cool as a cucumber. I lost 61 61.

    We played a third set just for fun... I was up 3-0 and then had a complete meltdown... And lost the set 63....why did i loose it when I was Up? Cause the guy...found himself loosing and started moonballing even more... I just cant cope with that....
     
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  35. TheBoom

    TheBoom Hall of Fame

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    My coach taught me that after a point you only have 5 seconds to think about it, get mad or be happy and then you move on. Just forget about it because if you think about how good or bad your playing your level is going to drop
     
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  36. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    First of all...

    ...there are no "woulda, shoulda, couldas." You either win or lose, whatever it looks like on paper or in your head before the match means nothing.

    Second, you've already figured it out...yep, you're way overinvested in the results of your matches. It's just a game. It's just a tennis match, and if you win, you probably won't get a wild card into Wimbledon. On the other hand, if you lose, they probably won't take you out and shoot you, either.

    I played a Men's Open match against a guy the other night who was diagnosed with cancer in his knee 18 months ago and was told he had a year to live. Well, he's still around. I tweaked my back in a ski race, had to have steroid injections in my spine to relieve the swelling and pinching on the nerves...got rehabbed, then hit a fence at 70 mph in yet another ski race and dinged my left knee...cracked tibial plateau, strained PCL, partially torn ACL and MCL. I dodged a bullet and didn't have to have surgery, but it's been 3 months of rehab, crutches, and braces. I finally got back on the courts about 5 weeks ago. So this guy and I both agreed that winning is better than losing (he won...), but that we were both glad to be above ground and on a tennis court...
     
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