Do you get frustrated when you are not playing up to your potential?

Many tennis players experience frustration during a match. They may make the wrong decision on a shot, make an unforced error or lose a game when they’ve had the lead. These can all be sources of frustration for tennis players. Many players experience frustration because they are not playing their best tennis.

One tennis player wanted to know “how to stay focused and calm when not playing as well as I would like.”

The key is to know what causes you to become frustrated or upset about your performance. Many athletes are frustrated because they aren’t performing up to their expectations. Expectations aren’t helpful to your performance. Expectations can cause athletes to judge their performance and can lead to added pressure.

The key is to let go of your expectations. Because your expectations have developed over years and years of play, it may be difficult to let go of your expectations. Try setting process goals to replace your expectations. Use process goals to guide and track your performance. Avoid trying to judge your performance based on your process goals.

Another cause of frustration is dwelling on mistakes. When players dwell on mistakes they may over analyze or think too much about the mistake. Tennis players who dwell on mistakes are stuck in the past, which doesn’t help them play in the present moment. Dwelling on past mistakes can affect your performance on the next points and can cause more mistakes. The key is to play one point at a time. Think of each point as the start of the match.

Some players may be annoyed or frustrated at their opponent. Players may become angry at their opponent’s strategy, their line calls or personality. The key is to play the ball, not your opponent. When you focus too much on your opponent, you become distracted at the task at hand. You aren’t able to focus on execution. Try to focus on what’s important to perform successfully.

Composure is an important mental skill for athletes to learn. To stay composed during matches, be aware of when you lose composure and what causes your frustration. Use process goals instead of expectations, play each point as a new point and focus on what’s important.

Author's Bio: 

Tennis psychology and mental game expert Dr. Patrick J. Cohn is the founder of Sports Psychology for Tennis by Peak Performance Sports. Dr. Cohn is devoted to helping tennis players and their parents improve confidence, focus, and success in tournaments. Get free sports psychology for tennis articles, podcasts and videos by visiting Dr. Cohn's tennis psychology website at:

Improve your mental game of tennis quickly by picking up Dr. Cohn’s free report, “Six ‘Unforced’ Mental Game Errors Tennis Players Make Between Points” by visiting