Narcissism is defined as “excessive interest in or admiration of one’s self.”  How does this relate to our ability to perform at a top level in our tennis matches?  It all relates to the “all or nothing” mentality that we tend to have with our matches.  Let me explain.

Have you ever caught yourself thinking about an upcoming match and making it a bigger deal than it really is?  I have.  It’s crazy how our mind can start thinking of an upcoming match and making it a life or death situation.  The match starts feeling like a must win and your life will come apart if you lose.  Dare I say that this type of thinking makes our matches that much harder to play well or even enjoy?  Where does this “all or nothing” mentality come from? For me, it comes from my narcissism.  I forget how unimportant the outcome of my matches really are.  Notice I said “outcome” not the match itself.  The match is important.  It’s important to feel competitive and pushed to find the best version of yourself in the match.  But when it comes to the result of the match, it really just becomes a memory.  So the question is, what do you want that memory to be?  You enjoying the struggles and understanding that tennis is difficult so mistakes will be made?  Or is it about your constant negative attitude towards how bad you’re playing and how you can’t even enjoy the great shots you do hit in the match?

So the question is, how can we get over this “all or nothing” attitude in our matches?  To help with this, I’ve worked with clients to start thinking how their match would be in the news.  At first, this might sound like a bad idea.  After all, isn’t that a thought you want to avoid? It actually makes sense when you pay attention to the headlines.  If you ever go to a news website like or a sports news website like, you will see that the headlines change daily, sometimes hourly.  The whole point of the website is to get you to click and read about some sort of news that occurred recently.  This has to continually change otherwise viewers will move on to something else.

This means that the present news becomes an afterthought soon after the article has been written and read by viewers.  Although we do not have to worry about our matches making ESPN, we can remember that the match will be an afterthought soon after you finish.  To me, this keeps the pressure down and allows me to enjoy my matches much more.  When I think of the “after thought” idea of my upcoming match, I literally breathe a sigh of relief.  Now it’s time to enjoy the match!

Another thing that might help is to consider the evidence of your match being that important.  How many times have you caught a fan of yours watching their phone more than your match?  I have.  Even during the high school matches I coach I see parents’ eyes on their phones more than their child’s court.  This may sound a bit harsh but it can really liberate you knowing that once that match is over, life moves on.  No one is losing sleep over you losing in a third set.  So why should you?  If your match is going to be soon forgotten, maybe it’s best to stay in the moment so you can enjoy your matches and remember why you’re playing the match in the first place!

Thanks for reading!  Please forward this to anyone you think would appreciate this message.  If you’re looking for a coach that cover all attributes related to tennis performance, reach out to me with a free discovery call here.

Also, check out my lastest video on how to fix your forehand with this quick tip.