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When competing at the US Nationals this year, you should try to avoid emotional highs and lows. You will likely spend a lot of time and money on going to the tournament. I realize that you want to win. Yes, I realize that, you want to win. However, if you become too emotional, then you will not be able to think clearly and perform your best. Let me illustrate…
I recently watched a tournament match, a 60-year-old guy playing against a 40-year-old lady. As I watched each game and observed and listened to the coaching between games, I began to realize that the situation that I saw was actually extremely common. After winning the first game, the 60-year-old guy danced happily over to his coach with a smile that stretched from Vegas to New York. From what he said, it was apparent that he had no clue how he won or what he did, he was just overjoyed to win the first game; it didn’t matter how he won. The 40-year-old lady wrinkled her brow and frowned at her coach, pouting that the game didn’t go as planned. As you can probably guess, the players switched off winning and losing. Each player returned to their respective coach after each game – the winner with an emotional high and the loser griping and complaining. Neither player was able to explain what happened or why they won or why they lost or what they planned to do differently. The winner wanted to continue the same tactics, but didn’t even know the tactics. The loser wanted to play better but didn’t know what was going wrong. Both of them were playing too emotionally high and low and it blurred their minds to think clearly.
There are two primary solutions to the problem. Solution #1 is to focus on performing. Take your time between point, play your best game, and let winning take care of itself. When the focus is on performance instead of winning, then your performance can give you satisfaction. I’m going to say this again – you really can get satisfaction from your performance. Satisfaction is not merely found in carrying the trophy home. Solution #2 is to get more serious before arriving at the US Nationals. Many players think they can give 60% effort in the practice hall, goof off in the matches, then somehow can serious when it counts. This mentality will lead to minimal improvement and maximum emotions. Do you absolute best in training – intentionally put pressure on yourself. Then relax at the nationals and just let it happen. Trust your stuff.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, it is vitally important to have the same approach to the game in practice and in tournament matches. Many people see me practicing and ask me questions such as, “Did you beat that guy?” And of course, I reply that that was just a practice match that they had been watching. You should strive to have the same mindset for drills, practice matches, league matches, qualifying tournament matches, and championship tournament matches.Pro