Quantcast
nodot nodot
Mental Equipment
January 2000 Article

Contact John Murray

Mental Equipment Archive

Get John F. Murray's book The Mental Performance Index at Amazon.com

Get John F. Murray's book Smart Tennis at Amazon.com

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Na Li
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Victoria Azarenka
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Jelena Jankovic
tennis ball Dominika Cibulkova
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball David Ferrer
tennis ball Juan Martin del Potro
tennis ball Andy Murray
tennis ball John Isner
tennis ball Richard Gasquet
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Mental Equipment By Dr. John Murray


 

Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
No Ifs Ands or Buts

Dr. John Murray Photo
Dr. John Murray

Welcome to the year 2000! The future is now, and more athletes than ever are excited about taking their performance to new dimensions of efficiency and enjoyment. I hope the topics in this column help. But rather than unveiling a fancy new strategy, let's get real and make a commitment to eliminate the typical result of most New Year's resolutions, namely, excuses and justifications. This month we explore the nature of excuses in sport and how they affect performance, and offer solutions for any unresolved Y2K glitches in your game!

The Blame Game

How many times have you endured your opponent leaving the court offering multiple explanations for why they lost? How did this feel if you just finished playing your best match in months? Perhaps you have a habit of justifying your losses too? This all too common script involves many elements including weather, grips, shoes, injuries, lack of practice, poor fitness, court conditions, altitude, line calls, and luck. Competitors at all levels partake in the blame game. True champions, however, reject this option and seek even greater responsibility for their actions and outcomes (See Accepting Defeat Graciously).

Excuses & Justifications

Definitions for excuses and justifications abound. Athletes seek to deflect social disapproval and negative feelings surrounding poor outcomes by creating excuses. Excuses act as an explanation to help reduce uneasiness and shift some of the blame for a negative outcome to extenuating circumstances. This would be fine if it was adaptive to performance, but it clearly is not.

Excuses reduce apparent responsibility for negative outcomes, leaving the athlete with less perceived control over events. With extenuating circumstances in control, the athlete often sets lower goals (see the Art of Goal Setting) and gives reduced effort. With reduced responsibility for actions, practices become less meaningful and confidence is harder to acquire.

A close cousin to the excuse is the justification. In this case, athletes downplay the negative meaning of a poor performance and may even suggest that there are hidden benefits for performing poorly. For example, a football team may assume that "it can't get any worse than it is" and forget to correct flaws from the previous game. A tennis player may justify that they lost because the other player had a much higher ranking, and reason that losing to higher ranked players is a good lesson. A more productive outlook would be for the football team to responsibly correct mistakes and the tennis player to realize that ranking is irrelevant.

Own Every Performance

There are few perfect weather days and many reasons indeed to explain performance. By taking full responsibility for your actions and the outcome of your actions, you set yourself up for success. Performance is yours to flash brilliantly or botch horrifically. Rather than looking for face saving explanations after a loss, redirect your energies to find a better solution the next time. Here are some tips to help you eliminate the ifs, ands and buts from your vocabulary:

  1. Allow your opponent to offer all the excuses and justifications they can, but do not judge them for it. Bite your own lip following a tough loss, even if you know that you can perform 100 times better. By concealing your areas of weakness, you are acting smart and positioning yourself up for a much more valiant effort the next time.

  2. Always credit the opponent for their performance after a loss. Allow them to bask in the temporary glory of their victory until you return with a renewed vigor to turn the tables. Offering excuses will just fuel their fire for the rematch.

  3. Steer clear of offering too many explanations for match outcome. Your emotions are often high, and it's wise to cool down, reflect on what happened, and quietly prepare an improved strategy for the next time.

By being fully responsible for your actions and outcomes, and eliminating excuses and justifications, you are taking the narrow path from which true improvement and growth emerges. You are in charge.

Happy New Year! I'll see you next month...

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Mental Equipment Archive

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by Dr. John Murray, all rights reserved.

Dr. John F. Murray is currently a licensed clinical psychologist and sport psychologist in Florida. In addition, he is a tennis professional (having taught tennis internationally in North America, Hawaii, Europe, Middle East), formerly certified with both USPTA and USPTR. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and masters degrees both in Clinical Psychology and Exercise & Sport Sciences from the University of Florida. He maintains a personal web site at http://www.johnfmurray.com/.

Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to John by using this form.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Wimbledon Tickets 6/22-7/6
 
Rogers Cup Tickets Toronto 8/4-8/10
 
Western & Southern Open Tickets Cincinnati 8/9-8/17
 
US Open Tickets 8/25-9/8
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
Tennis Warrior: Who's in Charge on the Tennis Court? You or Your Emotions? by Tom Veneziano.
 
April 2014 Tennis Anyone: Set, Lay, Press and Brush by John Mills.
 
April 2014 Turbo Tennis: The Concept Of Control In Tennis by Ron Waite.
 
April 2014 Wild Cards: Revenge of the Yankees! Great Britain Dominates The U.S. In San Diego by Vince Barr.
 
April 7, 2014 Between The Lines: Becoming A Superstar -- Risers Of First Trimester 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
March 2014 Turbo Tennis: Seven Universal Strategies, Tactics and Tennis Principles by Ron Waite.
 
March 2014 Tennis Anyone: Position of Receiver's Partner by John Mills.
 
Tennis Warrior: Coping with adversity in tennis by Tom Veneziano.
 
March 2, 2014 Between The Lines: The Power Nations In Pro Tennis by Ray Bowers.
 
December 2013 Wild Cards: Tennis Channel's Top 100 Players Of All Time List Constitutes A Double Fault! by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Sony Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 5 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 6 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 7 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 8 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 21 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 20 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 19 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 18 Men's Fourth Round Women's Quarterfinals New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 17 Men's Fourth Round Women's Quarterfinals New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 5 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 1st Round Women's Singles 2nd Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 6 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 1st Round Women's Singles 2nd Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 7 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 2nd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 8 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 2nd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 2 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 1 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Grounds Admission Pass Flushing Meadows Corona New York NY National Tennis Center 8/26-9/9
Arthur Ashe Kids' Day Tickets Flushing Meadows Corona New York NY
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy