Tennis is just like life… it’s filled with ups and downs. There are those times when you just can’t lose, but then there are those times when no matter what you do, no matter what tricks you pull out of your bag, the luck always seems to go the other way. I hate when that happens; it really eats away at your confidence. And if you don’t do something about it right away, you might not be able to fully recover from it.
Four years ago, I injured my right rotator cuff when I fell off of a ladder while hanging Christmas lights. Now, I’ve had other injuries (torn meniscus, torn ligaments in ankle, etc…), and recovered just fine. But once I was allowed back on the courts, I realized that this particular injury affected my ability to use my biggest weapon — my serve.
Of course, I expected it to be weaker at first, but not that weak, and I thought it would get back to normal much faster than it did. Since I wasn’t able to play my usual aggressive game, the losses started piling up, creating a cloud of self-doubt that I could ever win again. It was a confidence-crushing catch-22.
Long story short, recovering my confidence was actually more difficult than recovering from the injury itself… but I did recover. Thankfully, my frustrations led me to some self-reflection, resulting in some much-needed insight which I’m sharing with you now.
If you’re lacking confidence — in tennis or for whatever reason — try these tips to gain or regain it. They worked for me!
GIVE IT YOUR ALL, even when you aren’t at your best, strongest, or most confident. Many times it’s not the better player who wins, but the one who gives the best effort. And if you still lose, you know there was nothing you could have done.
CHECK FEARS AND DOUBTS AT THE DOOR, because they will do nothing but keep you from being your best. Conquer them by accepting the fact that things won’t always go your way, and by making every effort to learn from your mistakes. Do that, and you’ll have more things going your way in no time!
BE MENTALLY PREPARED to achieve your goals. Reflect on what parts of your game you need to change so you can to get it to where you want it to be. Evaluate your mistakes and all of the ways you can improve them, and then visualize the end results–seeing yourself in your head makes it real. For added motivation, pin pics and quotes on your Pinterest boards and on your fridge.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, even if you have to fake it to make it. Act, speak, think and behave in a way that speaks to self-belief. Any self-belief that is lacking will soon catch up if you walk the walk.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY AND SUPPORT, because it’s hard, if not impossible, to get through life’s problems without them. Build a team of cheerleaders who encourage you when you are down. My family, coach and teammates always encourage me and lift my spirits, and that allows me to be strong. In a world filled with people who are going to say you can’t, why not build a team that says “yes you can”!
GET READY TO WORK FOR IT, because it will take work in order to achieve. Even being a couch potato takes hours and hours of sitting around in order to be good at it, am I right? To get your mojo, your confidence back, you need to put in the time to do it right. In my case, that meant hours of physical therapy, and even more time practicing on the courts. Paying your dues and taking the time to get yourself ready builds confidence in itself — and is never time wasted. If you’re not willing to do the work, well stop reading right here! If you are, then you are more than welcome to continue on to my next point.
GET BACK UP if you fall. Keep fighting and don’t stay down. Being down and looking up is not the place to be. Fall down 9 times… get back up 10 times.
SOMEONE ELSE HAS IT WORSE. Just when you think you’ve had enough, and you’re thinking that life is so unfair, remember someone else out there has it worse. Be happy that you have a chance to fight another day and don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Enjoy the battle, and look forward to the big win!
ENJOY YOUR LIFE, because it’s the only one you’ve got, and your time is too precious to waste on frustration. Take a break from your struggles sometimes to smell the roses. Take some time to do other things that you enjoy. It’s ok to get your mind off things so you can come back stronger and refreshed… and ready!
These are tried and true tips, and I am living proof. And I would love to know if any (or all) work in helping you regain your confidence. Even if something else worked for you, please share below so it can help someone else :-)