Have you ever heard a tennis player talk about everything that has been going wrong on the court? Hearing them talk, it might even sound as if there is some sort of conspiracy keeping that player from performing well. Perhaps you recognize your own behavior in the example above. We often attribute blame or responsibility for a bad performance on external factors, such as weather, the opponent’s luck or just our own bad luck.
While all of these things can certainly be a factor in how you play the game, and they can definitely be a distraction, if you focus on them too much it will be to your detriment. All players experience the same struggles, but if you allow it to get to you, you will become a slave to your excuses.
We all have a natural tendency to try and assign blame when something goes wrong. It is only human, and the propensity of doing so is linked to personality, background and age. But no matter where you are from or how hard it is to stop this kind of behavior, it is critical that you do so.
Tennis players who indulge in this pattern of thinking are incredibly annoying, and also risk hitting a wall in terms of their on-court performance. One of the key factors in becoming a better player is learning from your mistakes. But if you believe that all of your losses are due to everything except your own mistakes, you are unlikely to learn from them and improve in the process. Furthermore, if you truly believe that outside factors have such tremendous power over you and your game, you will stop believing that training and hard work will improve your game. If tennis is all about luck, what is the point of training? This is a dangerous path to walk down.
On the other hand, if you are someone who is internally focused and capable of admitting when they make a mistake, you can learn a great deal from every setback. If you believe you are the architect of your own destiny, and that you alone control your fate on the court, you are much more likely to fully take control of your game. With this attitude, you are likely to fully embracing training and hard work, and this in turn will greatly improve your performance.
You can avoid being a slave to your excuses by constantly being vigilant of your thoughts. Indeed, this can be applied to your life as a whole. Whether we are talking about work, school or sport, avoiding excuses for poor performance is something that we must all strive towards. It will, ultimately, make us better players and human beings.