If I'm The Better Player, Why Can't I Win?
Discover Why You Lose To Weaker Players
And Start Winning The Matches You Should Win
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Do you lose to weaker players? Can you get a lead, but can't
close out the match? It seems like beating them should be
routine, but these matches often turn into nightmares. If
you struggle playing weaker players, you may be asking yourself,
"I wonder if graphite racquets can burn?" Is chess less stressful?
How do you stop losing to players you know you should beat
and start reaching more of your potential? There is help.
There are specific, damaging mental errors you probably make
that stop you from playing well against these people. The
secret? Learn these mental traps, recognize them in your own
mind as they happen in your matches and apply mental remedies
that counter-act their negative effects. Then, you'll start
winning these matches.
Start Beating Weaker Players. Here Are My Top 7 Mental
Game Success Tips.
As you read this list, recognize which damaging mental thought
grabs you the most often in the middle of a match. Memorize
all of them so you can immediately be aware of each one as
a mental trap to be avoided.
Damaging Thought #1: "I Should Never Lose To Players Weaker
Than Me." If that was true in all sports, we'd never see
any exciting upsets. It would be quite boring. The top tennis
pros lose to people below them, even to players no one has
ever heard of.
The Solution? Don't Be A Perfectionist. This thought
puts too much pressure on you, and then every little error
you make scares you into thinking that defeat is right around
the corner. You will make mistakes in every match you ever
play the rest of your life. Relax and focus on what it takes
to win, not on what is going wrong.
Damaging Thought #2: "I Should Be Killing Weaker Players!"
There are no guarantees in tennis and even fewer in competition.
Anything can happen. Players who go into a match expecting
to breeze through to victory without sweating are hoping for
the easy way out. There is no such thing.
The Solution? Don't Set Unrealistic Expectations In The
Face Of Evidence To The Contrary. You've been losing to
these folks, so don't be too quick to set such high goals.
Don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting such
a lopsided outcome. Take a "Let's see what happens" outlook.
Just win the match, no matter what the score. Remember, you
have trouble with these folks or you wouldn't be reading this
right now. Give yourself a break.
Damaging Thought #3: "It's So Boring Playing Lesser Players.
I Want An Interesting Match!" Oh really? You lose to these
people and you're bored? Losing always gets my full attention.
Winners hate to lose and will do whatever it takes to avoid
The Solution? Admit That These People Have Your Number.
In your own mind, at least give them the respect they deserve
and figure out how to beat them. Winning starts with not telling
yourself how dull the match is, so your mind wanders. Instead,
vow that you'll discover how to play these types so they don't
bother you anymore.
Damaging Thought #4: "Losing To These People Is Painful.
When Is This Torture Going To Be Over?" Thinking this
thought means you have not made the commitment to fully compete.
You're looking for an easy way out of the struggle. If you
want a guaranteed win, how about calling that 6-year old you
can beat for sure?
The Solution? Before The Match Begins, Vow That You Will
Fight To The Bitter End, And Accept All Trouble, Pain And
Adversity That Comes Your Way. Then win anyhow. If you
go through the match complaining that you're not playing well,
or that the other person is weak, you're playing two opponents.
Them and yourself. Accept the inevitable pain that comes with
competing. Successful competitors love the craziness of a
Damaging Thought #5: "This Isn't Real Tennis! I Want To
Play MY Game!". Does it seem like you end up playing their
game, that they drag you down to their level? How do top players
like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and others get to the finals
so often? They've discovered how to adjust their games to
lower ranked players in the early rounds and defeat them.
The Solution? Realize You Can't Play Your Favorite Game
Style 100% Of The Time--You Have To Adapt And Overcome.
Start the match playing your best game, but have a back-up
plan ready to go. When the opponent starts forcing you to
play their game, do so briefly, but then look for an opening
to get back into your preferred playing style. Unfortunately,
sometimes your best style of play fits unfavorably into their
game style. Winners know how to swallow their pride and play
any style it takes to win.
Damaging Thought #6: "What If Someone Finds Out I Lost
To A Lesser Player? Having this thought rattling around
in your head will really botch things up. You'll be self-conscious,
send your mind zooming into the worries of the future and
completely take your mind off what you're doing. It's a disaster
waiting to happen.
The Solution? Do You Like Excitement And Surprises? Then
Embrace The World Of Competition. If you can't deal with
losing, don't compete. Or better yet, vow to deal with the
emotional roller-coaster and no-guarantee world of competition.
That's part of why you compete, right? To get that thrill
and adrenaline rush of uncertainty about the outcome. Top
competitors will hope for a close, tough match so they can
brace themselves for it. Expect tension and an uncertain outcome
and love it to the max.
Damaging Thought #7: "I Can Only Get Better Playing Better
Players, So Why I Am I Even Playing This Clown?" Did you
know that you're in a tennis classroom, and that your opponent
is the teacher? If you have trouble beating lesser players,
don't you still have lessons to learn about that? Open your
mind and begin soaking up that learning.
The Solution? Realize That We All Have A Debt To Pay Back
To This Great Game And, Use Weaker Opponents As A Practice
Tool. When you were a beginner I'm sure some better players
took the time to hit with you. Maybe they even gave you some
tips. This is your chance to give back. Also, it's a major
myth that you can only improve playing better players. You
need weaker players so you can try new things in a lower-stress
environment and to realize that you are improving, and a very
good player. If you only play up, you will kill your confidence.
How Do You Start Winning The Matches You Know You Should?
Respect the game of everyone who beats you. Manage your thoughts.
Set yourself up for success, not failure. Learn important
lessons from everyone who makes you struggle on the tennis
court. Get some professional coaching on these issues. Play
more competitions and experience these situations so you get
used to them and can deal with them. Instead of losing to
those you should beat, you'll soon be winning those matches
and be enjoying your tennis more than ever before.
Copyright © Bill Cole, MS., MA. 2002, 2010 All rights
This article covers only one small part of the mental game.
A complete mental training program includes motivation and
goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review
and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training,
breath control training, motor skill training, mental rehearsal,
concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training,
confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump
prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation
training, momentum training, psych-out proofing and media
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you
need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete
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65-item sport psychology assessment tool you can score right
on the spot, visit https://www.mentalgamecoach.com/Assessments/MentalGameOfSports.html.
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths
and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a
guide in creating your own mental training program, or as
the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS,
MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an
excellent first step to help you get the big picture about
your mental game.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness
and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching
Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports.
He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published
book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive
article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
Article Source: https://www.MentalGameCoaching.com
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