A Tennis Warm-Up Story

“OK now… do you want to serve or receive?” is what I heard the two guys saying 5 minutes after they just stepped on the tennis court… 😯 

It always makes me laugh when people are so excited to… just play. The love for competition is so big they don’t even take the time to warm up properly: “Let’s just play!”

You can tell dedicated players from the not-so-dedicated ones. The first are those who play to improve, the latter are the ones who are content (or would like to get better but always find excuses) with their level of play. I don’t blame the last ones – they enjoy tennis and have fun playing it.

But if you plan to enjoy this sport for a longer period of time and especially playing competitively, here are some warm-up guidelines that might help you get a better start of the match:
– Avoid hitting hard, putting the ball away or running too much in the warm-up.
– Focus on feeling the ball and getting the body loose.
– Try to spot weaknesses in your opponent’s technique (which you should exploit during the match).
– If you have any “special shots” that you are very confident with, do not show them in the warm-up.
– Do not let any emotions come out in the warm-up – remember, this is not the actual match.
– Avoid conversations with opponents during warm-up – they can make remarks to distract you from the match ahead. 

In fact, I would like to elaborate on the last one (true story)…

I learned my lesson a long time ago when right after the warm-up, my opponent began complementing my forehand groundstroke. 
Guess what? As much as I enjoyed the compliment, I could not stop thinking about it. 
The result: It made me conscious to not show it off during the match. That led to feeling more tense and eventually questioning my abilities. 

So do not fall into the trap of initiating any conversation with your opponents before, during or after the warm-up other then the usual match related information. 

I tell my students (and now to you) that talking is for after the match is over… only!

Cosmin Miholca

Challenging Questions in Tennis

challenging tennis questionsI am in a very tough (tournament) match. My opponent wants (obviously) to win and he is making me work hard for every point. I struggle physically and mentally and I’m thinking whether I have the strength to go all the way.
The inevitable questions come to my mind: Is my struggle worth it? Is the effort worth it? Why should I try my best? DO I HAVE to try my best?

Truth is that every competitive player has been in this situation: give up or keep fighting…

Why “give up”?
Well, for the simple reason that giving up gets us back to our comfort zone: going back to the intimacy of our home, relaxing with the family and friends and… just rest.

On the other side, the “keep fighting” mode means continuing the hard work and the understanding that if we win then we’ll have to get back on the court the next day (during a tennis tournament) and continue this “struggle” again, all over.
It is not easy to keep going. It is not easy to keep fighting. The idea of giving up is so… tempting. It is a lot easier to give up than fight… It is a lot easier to stay in a comfort zone than not.

I don’t blame you if you decide to play and lose. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to continue even though you could. But I will tell you that what you do on the tennis court will reflect what you will do in life… my friend!
(Mental Tennis Lessons)


Cosmin Miholca