Your Morning Wake-Up Call
You were the top seed in the under 2300 event. Based on the draw, you knew that you didn’t have a strong opponent on your opening 9am match; in fact, he was only rated 1600. You woke up at 8:25am and drove to the venue at 8:55am. You figured that after your opening match, that you would grab some breakfast and then begin your full warm-up for your 11am match. After dropping the first game, you decided that it was just your opening match and you would snap out of it. You thought that it would still be an easy 3-1 win. At the close of the second game, your opponent did the unthinkable. He scored 4 consecutive points with 3 net balls and an edge ball. Now, you were down 2-0 in games and your nerves got the best of you. Your morning wake-up call? Well, it was more than a wakeup call, it was the worst loss of your life!
So how could you have prevented it?
You needed to take that match serious, even when your opponent was rated much below you. By waking up early enough to eat a good breakfast, by jogging and stretching, by playing a few practice matches, by doing a bit of research on your opponent, and by mentally gearing up prior to the match, you should have given your best from the very first hit! For future tournaments, you need to learn to be serious and give your opponent the needed respect.
After losing the first game, you should have had some fear. Instead of taking the match seriously, you just dismissed it as an early morning match that would turn out fine in the end. Instead, you should fear losing. This fear of losing would have driven you to give 100% focus and to evaluate your opponent and possibly change your tactics. Some types of fear are good.
Walking off the court after losing the match 3-0, you should have learned on how to deal with your loss. So what did you do next???…. Quit? Mope around the tournament complaining? Following your opponent around hoping that his rating gets adjusted? What did you do? I suggest that you should have learned from that match and move forward. Think back to the match in regards to a tactics change for the next match but DON’T think back to the match in a depressing way. Use that match as fuel to energize your performance in future matches!