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The Schedule for Emotions

Recreational individual sports players can surely learn a lot from tour professionals, but many lessons are hard to see, some even hidden BETWEEN points.

Whether you play tennis, table tennis, racquetball, squash, or badminton, methodical point handling, and preparation is huge advantage.

The Schedule for Emotions
The Schedule for Emotions

For professionals, the rituals between points have evolved into a MORE productive routine.

This article will detail what often goes on inside a professional’s mind in these moments of silence that the author refers to as the “Schedule of Emotions.”

As described in an earlier article in this series, “Sports Psychology:

The Zen of the Business Approach,” recreational players rarely handle the emotional swings of competition as well as professionals.

Much of that difference is due to their amateurish approach to preparation before a game and between points.

The Schedule for Emotions

This author calls these three phases the “Schedule of Emotions”. Once you know what to look for, it’s easier to notice it in the big players.

Phase One: This first 5-10 second part involves dealing with the emotions generated in the previous point.

The exception is a momentum change that should have an impact on the outcome of the entire contest. In this case, showing positive emotions SHOULD help maintain a level of performance high enough to get to match point.

The Schedule for Emotions
The Schedule for Emotions

The Schedule for Emotions

Among racket sports, tennis has a unique scoring system in which games and points have very different weights or degrees of importance, as opposed to a linear scoring system.

In this case, a heavily weighted point (eg, breakpoint or hardpoint) can create enough strategic advantage to form a “downhill” toward completion.

Due to its shorter, modular-sized games and a wide variety of tactics, tennis is more like chess in that offensive and defensive weapons are deployed at key moments in competition.

Other linear scoring racket sports are more like a long-distance race or a series of shorter sprints to the finish line.

Thus, most “battles won” are greeted with a sober and even countenance due to the knowledge that an equal number of defeats lie ahead.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Statistically, the winner in a competitive match only earns a SMALL number of extra points (one or two percent) than the loser.

Experts advise competitors not to let emotions run too high or low, as this requires extra energy during an already physically demanding competition. The best examples of this are Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.

Rarely will you see ANY wasted effort or emotion between the points of these iconic champions?

The Schedule for Emotions
The Schedule for Emotions

The Schedule for Emotions

Great actors learn to compartmentalize emotions, making it possible to access them at just the right moment.

Great athletes also learn to compartmentalize emotions to use them productively and under time constraints.

Now, let’s see how the pros handle “Losing Battles” during Phase One.

When mistakes do occur, professional athletes adapt well to this compartmental principle. They PRACTICE handling it on the spot better than recreational players.

Sports psychologists have observed that tennis professionals take 5-10 seconds to SILENTLY indulge in a purely normal disappointment WITHOUT displaying significant negative body language.

Once again, this reflects the expected statistical balance with “Battles Won”.

The Schedule for Emotions

A critical example is the disappointment a player feels when he misses the first serve at a very important point.

Coaches know that the most common reason for double faults is to rush to start the second serve. Experts believe that they need

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