Processing a Loss‏

As with all tournaments, there is always only one winner, which means in a Grand Slam 127 disappointments and 1 satisfaction. Dealing with loss and knowing how to keep building through them is a key part of success, so I wanted to share some ideas with you.


There are many of you waking up this morning after a devastating loss. After another Failure. After feeling the frustration of another battle that did not go your way. Another attempt to break those bad habits that you so desperately want to get away from.

Some tennis players are struggling with business, some are struggling with weight loss, rebuilding a relationship...

The mental state you are feeling is one of disempowerment, anxiety and a sense of hopelessness: “If I have tried so many times, what will make the next attempt any better?”, “And if the result is going to be the same, then why bother trying?”...

These feelings are very normal after a failure, and the accompanying loss of motivation, and listlessness are all forms of emotional shutdown.

In order to deal with these we must be well versed in a number of facts:

  • If you continue to do the same things, you will not necessarily have a different result
  • This is why you are not motivated to do the same things
  • Skill takes time to perfect, and if its imperfect skill stopping you, it will be months of persistence before you have your breakthrough
  • Courage, and the will to implement the things you are working on, also takes time- you need to face your fears, you need to lose with a new imperfect skill and learn from those losses before you can start to be successful with it


1. We need to let the emotions run their course. I used to put a stopwatch on for (“the burn- that emotional state where you are burning up with frustration, helplessness, anger and frustration) Set your clock, and when it goes off make this the time when you officially let go and start to do your work.

2. That's right- you need to WORK through your losses. You need to be in a state of objectivity, clarity and honesty to be able to go through your loss in detail.

3. Make detailed notes about what went wrong. Like this example below:

  • Was mentally unprepared for the conditions
  • Choked and did not follow my good shots in when the opportunity was there
  • Hesitated to attack the short ball
  • Emotionally broke down as the frustration grew

4. Now we need to Make a Plan based on what happened addressing each situation:

  • Was mentally unprepared for the conditions - make sure to bring the margins in, make the swings more compact and move the feet more, particularly the adjustment steps to get in a good position in the wind
  • Choked - It is normal to doubt and hesitate. Possibly I could set a number of times that I want to come in, maybe every 15-40 point or 40-15 on my own serve. This way I can take the pressure off and grow into my new skill
  • Hesitated to attack the short ball - Same as above, maybe set a number, and call three players this week to practice this skill against  CALL PETE, TIM, ANDRE FOR PRACTICE SETS
  • Emotionally broke down - Make a point of reinforcing that this will take time to perfect. Make a point of using affirmations this week when I practice, my affirmations will be

Now that you have worked through your loss, and have a new plan, its time to start making those phone calls, setting up your practice week, watching your you-tube videos that are good examples of the skill you are trying to learn. PLAN YOUR WORK-THEN WORK YOUR PLAN

You have successfully dealt with this loss. It should motivate, inspire and energize you to try again to climb this mountain!

Lastly, its normally your greatest obstacles that pave the way for the biggest successes, so embrace this next problem, enjoy it, and take all the lessons that it has to teach you from it!

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