Talk about your most discouraging moments in tennis. How did you respond?

HunterST

Hall of Fame
People use this board differently. Some like to give advice on the game and technique. Others just like to discuss tennis topics and their progress.

I have to admit, I am drawn to the board after discouraging moments. I really don't get the urge to post after success or good matches. I try cope with the disappointment and frustration by reflecting on the match and getting feedback on my thoughts.

I think a thread with people talking about their most discouraging moments and how they dealt with them could be a good place for players to visit during tough stretches.

So, what have been your most discouraging moments and how did you respond?
 

Username_

Hall of Fame
getting insulted and got told i was a **** player for drop shotting my opponent and making him play cat and mouse with me on the changeover

got discouraged and proceeded to lose the match from 5-2 up
 
Losing all 4 singles matches during a HS team event and feeling like I had lost the whole thing for the team.

It would make for a great story had I read Gallway's book and turned myself around but I had no clue about mental toughness strategies so I just soldiered on.

I hope "inspirational" isn't a prerequisite for posting...
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
I took one year break from tennis in the early 2000's. Came back to play two beginners who were ok players (one was on his high school team). Despite my racquet being cracked in the upper hoop, and a bizarre string job my friend did, I still met with them. I played them for a few weeks, and frustration got me, so I obviously said, I need a new racquet. They brushed it off like, ya, you just suck. So, I ordered a Prestige, practiced 2-3 times a week, and beat them 11 straight times. They quit. Before that the high school player hinted that my friends probably suck, or whatever. Namely because they wanted me to bring someone out who played at the open level to hit, and he was like I am not hitting with noobs. Eventually, he decided to do it, and we beat them 6-0 in doubles. Felt good beating some disrespectful people.

Funny story. I was at the Boca Challenger, and watching Todd Martin and Delic warm up. Some kid was talking with Todd as he was returning serves. The kid asked me if I play tennis. I said sort of, I did, but my partners quit because I won 11 straight times. Todd Martin heard it and said, that wasn't very nice of them.
 

Taveren

Professional
During my first year of tennis the most discouraging thing I ever heard was that I should not aim higher than 3.5 because it would be impossible for someone like me who first picked up the sport at an advance age of 34 to progress and improve beyond 3.5.
 
During my first year of tennis the most discouraging thing I ever heard was that I should not aim higher than 3.5 because it would be impossible for someone like me who first picked up the sport at an advance age of 34 to progress and improve beyond 3.5.
When did you realize that was a bunch of horse puckey [hopefully not after getting bumped to 4.0 but sooner]?
 

EddieBrock

Professional
By far my most discouraging moment was in a doubles round robin tournament. Some of my friends were coming to watch and I was so nervous I only got a few hours sleep the night before. It had ping pong scoring where each player served 5 points and when I went to serve I just couldn't get the serve in. I probably double faulted 3 to 5 times every time I went to serve. They were bad misses too, like into the back fence, hitting down on my side of the court, or almost hitting the opposing net player. This was with a lot of people I knew and the more frustrated and upset I got the worse my serve became. After that I was almost embarrassed to show my face there again and I felt like quitting.

The way I responded was working hard on my serve, asking questions on here, and enlisting help from different coaches. In the last year I've rebuilt my serve and I'm much more confident with it now. Sometimes I still get the same feeling as when I had that meltdown and throw in an occasional double fault, but after working so hard on it my kick serve is pretty good now and my serve in general is starting to be a strength. I trust my technique and do my best to loosen up before each serve.
 

Taveren

Professional
When did you realize that was a bunch of horse puckey [hopefully not after getting bumped to 4.0 but sooner]?
I cant really remember, Im turning 39 now. All that mattered to me was I was enjoying playing tennis (mostly singles) and I worked hard to improve my game so that I can have more fun hitting with more skilled players.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
When I first started tennis, I was very arrogant, and thus when I really hit with a true high level player that is at least 5.5+ that I really can't even touch his normal groundstrokes made me really discouraged, and I also angered those people at the same time because of my arrogance. I was, to be honest, very depressed but I eventually get over it and play and improve my own tennis in my own pace.
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
Stopped playing doubles. Spent more time collecting balls and switching sides than hitting a ball at my level which just made me pissed off with tennis.

I've had periods of years where I have not played and focused on other sports. Each time I come back with renewed motivation.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
One recent discouraging moment: I can't beat an old man like I did before. The gap between us is much narrower. Either he has become much better and/or I've become much worse. I think it's the latter since I have gained some lbs. :(
 

Fairhit

Professional
That first time when I realized I wasn't as good as I thought.

I'm a good player, I've been playing for two years now and I can beat people who have been playing for more than 10 years I know I'm better than the average player and better than most that have been playing the same time I've been playing, my confidence grew strong and oversized, once I started playing tournaments the realization hit me, I'm not as good as I once thought I was.

Luckily this has only given me motivation to improve, the first time I played a serious tournament I couldn't win a single set, now I'm playing the same people all of them playing much longer than I and I'm starting to win matches and to put them in difficult spots, now they have to earn a victory from me and even if I lose I'm very satisfied with what I'm doing, starting to lose when I thought I was some kind of tennis prodigy was a very humbling experience that helped me understand the true nature of tennis and my true level, most important, what I had to do to get better.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
That first time when I realized I wasn't as good as I thought.

I'm a good player, I've been playing for two years now and I can beat people who have been playing for more than 10 years I know I'm better than the average player and better than most that have been playing the same time I've been playing, my confidence grew strong and oversized, once I started playing tournaments the realization hit me, I'm not as good as I once thought I was.

Luckily this has only given me motivation to improve, the first time I played a serious tournament I couldn't win a single set, now I'm playing the same people all of them playing much longer than I and I'm starting to win matches and to put them in difficult spots, now they have to earn a victory from me and even if I lose I'm very satisfied with what I'm doing, starting to lose when I thought I was some kind of tennis prodigy was a very humbling experience that helped me understand the true nature of tennis and my true level, most important, what I had to do to get better.
First time one of my friends got a camcorder, it was hilarious. He filmed hitting against me, and we watched it together. He nearly started pulling hair out. He developed a hitch in his serve, and after seeing it was like was that always like that? I told him no, the hitch was new. lol His volley were really nice and he was satisfied with that. He recorded another time hitting with a D-1 player and the video caught the other guy making gestures like WTF, and told him to put the camera away because thats for scrubs. lol
 

BenC

Rookie
I got beat by a guy against whom I had no answers. Losing I don't mind as much as just plain sucking.

I figured I should at least patch the known holes in my game so I adjusted my grip on both forehand and backhand to cope better with higher balls, and finally switched to a proper continental grip for my slice and volleys. And I bought a simple ball machine to get reps in and practice my footwork, which also helped me lose 15 lbs.

I still doubt I could beat him today but hopefully I'd put up more of a fight. As long as I play to the best of my physical ability given my age and injury history I can live with it.
 

Henry Hub

Rookie
Aged 15, I lost 7-5 7-5 in the first round of a junior tournament against a rank beginner after being 5-0 up in both sets.

I reacted firstly by telling all my friends that the oppo was county standard and that I had been 5-0 down in both sets, but had staged stirring comebacks each time, and secondly by promptly giving the game up for 25 years. In retrospect, I may have overreacted a tad.
 

Fairhit

Professional
Aged 15, I lost 7-5 7-5 in the first round of a junior tournament against a rank beginner after being 5-0 up in both sets.

I reacted firstly by telling all my friends that the oppo was county standard and that I had been 5-0 down in both sets, but had staged stirring comebacks each time, and secondly by promptly giving the game up for 25 years. In retrospect, I may have overreacted a tad.
You think? I think it's a pretty standard reaction, that's why we don't have twice as much players.
 
Aged 15, I lost 7-5 7-5 in the first round of a junior tournament against a rank beginner after being 5-0 up in both sets.

I reacted firstly by telling all my friends that the oppo was county standard and that I had been 5-0 down in both sets, but had staged stirring comebacks each time, and secondly by promptly giving the game up for 25 years. In retrospect, I may have overreacted a tad.
Was his name "Federer"?
 

RoddickAce

Hall of Fame
Got injured for training too hard. Then when I recovered, I had to rebuild my skills. Got on a 15 match win streak in interclub league matches feeling pumped up, and proceeded to lose first round in my first competitive tournament against my worst match up (lefty serve and volleyer). Got injured again soon after.

Coped by realizing there are more things than tennis and to just enjoy the game.
 

Idrayer

New User
I got cut from my high school team in 11th grade despite winning all of my matches during tryouts. The coach's reasoning was that I didn't show much improvement from the last season, but the coach didn't realize that I was managing my efforts since I was dealing with pneumonia (albeit a light case) at the time. I wanted to quit at the time but my parents basically forced me to keep playing and taking lessons, but I didn't really do any competitions until 10 years later.
 
I got cut from my high school team in 11th grade despite winning all of my matches during tryouts. The coach's reasoning was that I didn't show much improvement from the last season, but the coach didn't realize that I was managing my efforts since I was dealing with pneumonia (albeit a light case) at the time. I wanted to quit at the time but my parents basically forced me to keep playing and taking lessons, but I didn't really do any competitions until 10 years later.
Something's askew: I can see a coach cutting someone because he's not trying but I can't see cutting someone purely on the basis of relative improvement from the previous season. By that logic he'd cut Federer from his team because he hasn't shown much relative improvement. Is it possible he interpreted "managing my efforts" as "not trying very hard"?
 

Idrayer

New User
Yeah, he wasn't a very good coach - he was a teacher at the school & the cross-country coach who happened to "coach" the tennis team. Practices consisted of a 5K run followed by him pairing people up and sending them to a court, no instructions on strategy, no drilling, etc. I don't think I saw him touch a racket the entire time I was there. It's entirely possible he saw my reduced efforts as not trying hard, as that was pretty true - I was putting in the minimum effort to win the tryout matches.
 
The first time I saw myself on vid. I had already been playing for quite a while by then so I was like, "All my efforts for this?" :D I learned not to bother about it and just keep at it, keep trying to improve. I also reminded myself I had taken up tennis with very low expectations as I used not to be good at sports at all in school so I ought to be happy I was able to play a half way decent level at all.
 

Fairhit

Professional
The first time I saw myself on vid. I had already been playing for quite a while by then so I was like, "All my efforts for this?" :D I learned not to bother about it and just keep at it, keep trying to improve. I also reminded myself I had taken up tennis with very low expectations as I used not to be good at sports at all in school so I ought to be happy I was able to play a half way decent level at all.
Same happened to me, somehow you have this idea o how your execution looks like, you can see in your mind that you hit a Federer fh, a Wawrinka bh, a Sampras voley, you have this clear image in your head of what your game loos like and then, you for whatever reason decided that want to see and confirm the poetry in motion that is you playing, you want to feast your eyes on the majesty of your game, you want to see the gift that you've been giving to the world, you set up your cellphone, start playing knowing full well that you are making almost an art video, you pose, you linger on your shots just to ensure that the camera is capturing all of the greatness and indeed it is, just not the kind of greatness you're hoping for, it's more of a YouTube fails greatness.

You see how short are your take backs, you see how ugly are your shots, you see how soft you hit, you see your bad posture, your awkward foot work, in the end it's not so bad, you are just another player and all you do on court it's not different of what any other player does but to see what it looks like vs what you had in your head is a gigantic contrast of quality.

When I went through this, I just wanted to never see me play again but eventually I moved on, I now am more aware of what I'm doing on court and if I see a tape of my play I focus on what can I learn from it, I'm not going pro anytime soon but I can strive to be the best I can be and with that gold in my mind every video has a lesson to learn from.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Same happened to me, somehow you have this idea o how your execution looks like, you can see in your mind that you hit a Federer fh, a Wawrinka bh, a Sampras voley, you have this clear image in your head of what your game loos like and then, you for whatever reason decided that want to see and confirm the poetry in motion that is you playing, you want to feast your eyes on the majesty of your game, you want to see the gift that you've been giving to the world, you set up your cellphone, start playing knowing full well that you are making almost an art video, you pose, you linger on your shots just to ensure that the camera is capturing all of the greatness and indeed it is, just not the kind of greatness you're hoping for, it's more of a YouTube fails greatness.

You see how short are your take backs, you see how ugly are your shots, you see how soft you hit, you see your bad posture, your awkward foot work, in the end it's not so bad, you are just another player and all you do on court it's not different of what any other player does but to see what it looks like vs what you had in your head is a gigantic contrast of quality.

When I went through this, I just wanted to never see me play again but eventually I moved on, I now am more aware of what I'm doing on court and if I see a tape of my play I focus on what can I learn from it, I'm not going pro anytime soon but I can strive to be the best I can be and with that gold in my mind every video has a lesson to learn from.
Then there is the phase where you try to fix it and do motions that feel radically different, but the change is barely noticeable. Or, it is noticeable, but noticeably worse.
 

Fairhit

Professional
Then there is the phase where you try to fix it and do motions that feel radically different, but the change is barely noticeable. Or, it is noticeable, but noticeably worse.
Hahaha yesss! That's a crucial step, luckily for me it lasted one session.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Most discouraging moment: shoulder surgery. Took two-years to feel good again, but I was getting older and never got back to where I was. How did I respond? Got into coaching and learned all I could. Coached my son from the time he was 7 up to a State High School Championship, A USTA Sectional Championship (along with the #1 ranking in both) and a top 100 national ranking. Best time I ever spent on a court.
 

Fairhit

Professional
Most discouraging moment: shoulder surgery. Took two-years to feel good again, but I was getting older and never got back to where I was. How did I respond? Got into coaching and learned all I could. Coached my son from the time he was 7 up to a State High School Championship, A USTA Sectional Championship (along with the #1 ranking in both) and a top 100 national ranking. Best time I ever spent on a court.
I think it's even more rewarding what you did than working on one's game.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Meh, I have had plenty of dicouragement, and a bunch lately. Just changes physically and a lot of mental distractions, I have had all polarized matches where I play lights out, or just all errors. Obviously when you see how well you CAN play, and then have days you just CAN'T, it is frustrating. It is discouraging to have no middle ground right now. Mind you, the physical stuff I can work through- back, shoulder, knees, whatever - I can get over injuries. The mental stuff, that is what I am working out right now. Not playing much at the moment to give myself a bit of a break. My solice is helping work with the high school kids and others. I actually like getting people to love tennis, more that I love tennis at the moment.
 
Meh, I have had plenty of dicouragement, and a bunch lately. Just changes physically and a lot of mental distractions, I have had all polarized matches where I play lights out, or just all errors. Obviously when you see how well you CAN play, and then have days you just CAN'T, it is frustrating. It is discouraging to have no middle ground right now. Mind you, the physical stuff I can work through- back, shoulder, knees, whatever - I can get over injuries. The mental stuff, that is what I am working out right now. Not playing much at the moment to give myself a bit of a break. My solice is helping work with the high school kids and others. I actually like getting people to love tennis, more that I love tennis at the moment.
Have you seen this video? He specifically talks about the frustration with not being able to play like you know you can play.

 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Meh, I have had plenty of dicouragement, and a bunch lately. Just changes physically and a lot of mental distractions, I have had all polarized matches where I play lights out, or just all errors. Obviously when you see how well you CAN play, and then have days you just CAN'T, it is frustrating. It is discouraging to have no middle ground right now. Mind you, the physical stuff I can work through- back, shoulder, knees, whatever - I can get over injuries. The mental stuff, that is what I am working out right now. Not playing much at the moment to give myself a bit of a break. My solice is helping work with the high school kids and others. I actually like getting people to love tennis, more that I love tennis at the moment.
 

Acegame

New User
I can get discouraged when i play very bad during matches after a period of training and being on court a lot. When i haven't been on court for a while and play bad, it's ok because there's a reason for it. But otherwise i find it hard to handle.

Two years ago i trained a lot during winter, but it didn't translate into good results at all. That frustrated me very much. Funnily this year it's the opposite. Hardly played during the winter, but haven't lost a single match and my rating has never been higher. Strange....
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Yeah, he wasn't a very good coach - he was a teacher at the school & the cross-country coach who happened to "coach" the tennis team. Practices consisted of a 5K run followed by him pairing people up and sending them to a court, no instructions on strategy, no drilling, etc. I don't think I saw him touch a racket the entire time I was there. It's entirely possible he saw my reduced efforts as not trying hard, as that was pretty true - I was putting in the minimum effort to win the tryout matches.
More likely he just had another favorite he wanted to promote. Or just didn't like you for whatever vague or subconscious reason.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
Same happened to me, somehow you have this idea o how your execution looks like, you can see in your mind that you hit a Federer fh, a Wawrinka bh, a Sampras voley, you have this clear image in your head of what your game loos like and then, you for whatever reason decided that want to see and confirm the poetry in motion that is you playing, you want to feast your eyes on the majesty of your game, you want to see the gift that you've been giving to the world, you set up your cellphone, start playing knowing full well that you are making almost an art video, you pose, you linger on your shots just to ensure that the camera is capturing all of the greatness and indeed it is, just not the kind of greatness you're hoping for, it's more of a YouTube fails greatness.

You see how short are your take backs, you see how ugly are your shots, you see how soft you hit, you see your bad posture, your awkward foot work, in the end it's not so bad, you are just another player and all you do on court it's not different of what any other player does but to see what it looks like vs what you had in your head is a gigantic contrast of quality.

When I went through this, I just wanted to never see me play again but eventually I moved on, I now am more aware of what I'm doing on court and if I see a tape of my play I focus on what can I learn from it, I'm not going pro anytime soon but I can strive to be the best I can be and with that gold in my mind every video has a lesson to learn from.
LOL i went through that also. In my mind I was still 18 and had my lightning speed, fluid strokes, etc, Then i saw the video, and i didn't want to see anymore.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
You are now the "snow ninja" in my mind
When I am wearing the sweat gutter in summer ... you hardly notice what color shoes and clothes I have on.

Edit: oh snap ... that's it ... my most discouraging moment, ending my tennis run wearing glasses and a sweat gutter. Now I feel like a cry.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Meh, I have had plenty of dicouragement, and a bunch lately. Just changes physically and a lot of mental distractions, I have had all polarized matches where I play lights out, or just all errors. Obviously when you see how well you CAN play, and then have days you just CAN'T, it is frustrating. It is discouraging to have no middle ground right now. Mind you, the physical stuff I can work through- back, shoulder, knees, whatever - I can get over injuries. The mental stuff, that is what I am working out right now. Not playing much at the moment to give myself a bit of a break. My solice is helping work with the high school kids and others. I actually like getting people to love tennis, more that I love tennis at the moment.
Forgot to add, I've handled it by not playing much the last several weeks. Working more on getting the body and fitness back, and hopefully the interest to play as well. As I mentioned, I love introducing and working with kids in tennis, and that is where I spend my time on court lately, if any.
 

thehustler

Semi-Pro
Last time I did league play which was about 11 years ago. 4.0 men's team and I was basically #2 singles depending on the lineup. There were 2 guys who were bad matchups for me on our team, but one I could beat at times and the other I didn't play enough to know. Anyway I had won my last 6 or 7 matches in singles in the regular season and we got to playoffs. I was left off the initial playoff roster because the captain was so sure we'd win that he didn't need me. So naturally the team lost 3-2. The guy I didn't play enough to know wound up losing and he was wildly inconsistent. He could play lights out one moment and the next you'd wonder if it was the same player. After that I stopped with league play and just started finding partners on my own. Been much better off that way finding local people to hit so in a way it's worked out better for me.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
LOL i went through that also. In my mind I was still 18 and had my lightning speed, fluid strokes, etc, Then i saw the video, and i didn't want to see anymore.
My friend in HS and college was literally gripping his hair watching his video. He was about 5.0 at the time. He had acquired a hitch in his serve (which used to be fluid). He asked me if it was always like that, and I told not, it started about a month ago. The funny part, too, was that he was a baseliner, but his volleys looked text book.
 

NLBwell

Legend
Though I grew up playing tennis and being taught correctly, I didn't start playing seriously until the end of my sophomore year in high school. In my Junior year after barely making the high school team, I was playing a match that didn't count (I was not good enough to play one of the 6 singles courts that counted) against an opponent from another school who was absolutely terrible - pretty much a beginner - and I lost. I was totally devastated and crying by myself on the side of a hill.
What I did was just keep practicing and trying to get better. My senior year, I was playing #2 against the same high school against the guy who had been the state Catholic high school champion the previous year and was a top 20 junior in Virginia (the team had gotten an even better #1 player). I lost 10-7 (10 game pro set) with only one serve break at 7-8. Even though I lost and that hurt some after feeling I had a chance to beat him, I realized how far I had come in one year and was pretty happy with myself.
 

Beto 04

New User
I played varsity singles my sophomore through senior year of high school. Going into my senior year I was 1-1 in the state finals and had lost only 3 matches my whole high school career. After a grueling 3+ hour semi I only had a 30 minute break till I had to play in the finals. We were the last match of the day so everyone was watching. I proceeded to lose the first set 6-0 in no more than 15 minutes. Regrouped and won the second and was up 4-0 in the third before I just did not have anything left. Lost the next 6 games and the match. Only time I’ve ever cried on the court. I was so dejected I drifted away from tennis for several years. It took 4 years for me to get over that loss. Still though it is the one match that really sticks in my head.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
I played varsity singles my sophomore through senior year of high school. Going into my senior year I was 1-1 in the state finals and had lost only 3 matches my whole high school career. After a grueling 3+ hour semi I only had a 30 minute break till I had to play in the finals. We were the last match of the day so everyone was watching. I proceeded to lose the first set 6-0 in no more than 15 minutes. Regrouped and won the second and was up 4-0 in the third before I just did not have anything left. Lost the next 6 games and the match. Only time I’ve ever cried on the court. I was so dejected I drifted away from tennis for several years. It took 4 years for me to get over that loss. Still though it is the one match that really sticks in my head.
Cool that you mustered a comeback, eventhough you came up short. Event planners should have spaced things out better. You were the better player, hopefully you get another chance in future match.
 
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