Top Excuses Tennis Players Make, and Why You Shouldn’t

  1. Bad Line Calls – He/She was making horrible calls! By far the number one excuse tennis players make for losing a match.  Often when a player feels wrongly cheated, emotions are running too high for the next several points or even games. High emotions trigger “going for too much” to make a statement to the opponents.  The players inability to handle their emotions or take appropriate action spirals out of control.
  2. Lack of Effort in Practice or Matches – If I’m not really trying, I can’t really lose.  Or, I’m going to lose anyway, so why try? The mind is a funny thing. Players often will give up and go for too much when they are losing badly to an opponent.  They begin to go for winners and play “outside of themselves” or outside of their capabilities.
  3. The Weather- It was too hot/cold or windy.  Remember, the weather is not in your control and is the same for all players.  The weather is the same on both sides of the court!
  4. It was my Partners fault- Blaming is all too common on the doubles court.  Find ways to be a better “team” and work together on how to do that.

An excuse is a contract. When many of us think of contracts, we picture corporate giants sitting in the center of a lavish boardroom on Wall Street or a star athlete signing a multi-million dollar deal to play with a certain team. An excuse doesn’t really fit this sort of mold, but make no mistake an excuse is a contract you make with yourself. A contract necessitates an exchange. You give something, and you get something. In the case of an athlete, that athlete may agree to exclusively use one company’s product in exchange for money and free gear. In order to assess whether a contract is worthwhile, you have to determine if what you are giving up is worth what you are getting in return. Unfortunately, many of us allow excuses to take root without ever weighing the balance of what you give up versus what you receive.

The benefits to making an excuse are plain to see. First, you get to avoid something difficult that you do not want to do. You can tell yourself that it is too hot outside so that you do not need to get a run in or practice your serves. You can avoid getting up early to get a couple of practice sets in by convincing yourself that you stayed up too late the night before and you need your rest. The second benefit of an excuse is that you allow yourself an escape from the sting of failure. You didn’t really lose your last match, the line judge was blind and everyone knows it. It doesn’t matter that you missed nearly every shot hit to your backhand, your doubles partner couldn’t carry his weight anyway. 

The excuses you make provide you with temporary relief and deniability. But, at what cost?  It’s safe to say you are not going to reach your goals if you are making any excuses. Could you manage your emotions better?  What shots do you need to work on? How is your effort level in practice or matches? Be a player who takes responsibility. Be totally honest and ask yourself if you are making excuses. The toughest tennis players never make excuses for lack of effort or poor performance.  They take an honest assessment of where they are at and strive to improve in areas where they are lacking.