Learn to handle match pressure

Are you bothered more than you should be by pressure? The reason any real competitor feels this tension before an important match is because it's a test, a mental test. And that's where you're vulnerable on the tennis court.

If you lose because the other player is stronger of faster or just plain better, that's a fact of life and no disgrace.

But if you flunk the mental test -- if you collapse on the big points -- then your self-image takes a justfiable beating. Your worst fears are realized.

How can you build yourself up mentally to withstand the pressures of tennis competition?

One way is to play matches which mean something fairly often. Enter club or local tournaments frequently enough that you begin to get accustomed to those tense big-point situations.

In other words, it takes practice to master your mental processes in tennis the same as it does to master your strokes.

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