You know it and I know it. The winner in almost all tennis matches is not necessarily the best player, but the player who makes the least number of errors. So how do you turn it around in the middle of the match when you're the player making the greatest number of errors?
Here's your four step plan for error-reducing action:
1. Realize that no one is perfect. Serena Williams just won the 2012 U.S. Open with 28 unforced errors. Andy Murray did the same thing with 56 unforced errors. Although these are incredibly low numbers, the fact is – these are top pros playing the best tennis possible. And even they don't do it perfectly. So accept that, no matter how well you play on any given day, you will definitely make errors.
2. Let it go. When you make an error (or two, or seven), let it go and move on. Replaying that error over and over in your mind not only adds to your frustration, but it takes you out of the moment, out of what is happening on court right now. If you want to mentally rehash every error you make, save it for later. But during your match, let those errors go.
3. Focus on the positive. Rather than focusing on avoiding errors, focus on making good shots. So, when you're serving, don't tell yourself, “I can't double fault again. Please don't let me double fault.” All this does is focus your brain on the phrase “double fault,” actually making you more likely to do that very thing. Instead, tell yourself, “Serve up the middle. Make her hit that weak backhand return.” Or something similar. Whatever you're doing on court, focus on it in a positive way and avoid the negative.
4. Play one point at a time. You've heard it before, but when you're making lots of errors, that's the time when you absolutely need to play one point at a time. Don't think about what just happened. Don't think about what might be about to happen. Think about staying in the point you're playing right now and cleanly hitting the shot you're hitting right now. In other words, keep calm and play tennis.
If you can put this plan into action, not only will you enjoy your tennis matches more, you'll cut down on your errors. And hopefully win some matches in the process.
How do you cut down on errors during your matches? How do you keep calm and remain focused? Let me know what your error-reducing plan of action is by commenting below.