Tennis Strategy:

Resilience on the Court

Dr. Larry Lauer  |  January 1, 2017

Accept, Control, and Choose


Accept, Control, and Choose

Imagine you’re set point down in a long rally. You’re fighting, trying to stay in the set with everything you have. Then your opponent hits a cross-court backhand off the net cord. You watch the ball pop in the air and land on your side. Despite your best efforts, you’re now a set down. 


Suddenly you’re feeling low. Your negative mindset has the potential to affect the entire match. If you want to recover quickly, you must shake off your misfortune and be resilient. You can do this by following what I like to call the ACC model of managing your emotional reactions.


ACC stands for Accept, Control and Choose. It’s an approach that helps you commit to more effective responses to a negative situation. When you follow this model after a bad break, you’ll begin to see your performance improve right away. ADVERTISEMENT Here’s how to do it:


Accept the bad bounce. When you recognize that these strokes can happen to anyone, you’ll be fine and able to move forward. Take a moment to remember times when you got some breaks on a line call, a bounce, or anything that was out of your and your opponent’s control. Once you push past the grief, you can begin to recommit to playing tennis.


Focus on what you control: Take charge of your reaction to the bad bounce. When you react negatively to your circumstances, you’re allowing your

opponent to feel they’re getting to you. Don’t allow them to gain confidence from your reactions. When my opponent gets lucky and slaps a winner from way behind the baseline, I like to think, “Nice shot. That’s what it’s going to take for you to beat me. Let’s see if you can do it 24 more times.” 


Choose a plan of action. What do you want to do—feel bad for yourself or play great tennis? Focus your mind on your strategy, and how you’re going to win the next point, game or match.


The next time a bad bounce happens, go to your strings and begin the process of accepting, controlling and making good choices. I bet you’ll be happier with the results.


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