Today was the first really tough day. Tough in terms of facing mental barriers on the court. I didn’t play the way I wanted to in practice. It just felt like I slipped into old habits, and I was completely discouraged on court. I was more angry at myself than I would have liked, but I have to admit that I’m not entirely regretful that I expressed some negative emotion.
I struggle with being in the moment. I’m very self-aware and if I feel a wave of anger or sadness, I usually judge it. I usually try to repress it, and I instinctively approach the negative emotion as if it’s a bad thing. Today, it felt good to release some frustration because I wasn’t judging myself for feeling this way. Historically on the tennis court, I have always been good at “managing my emotions” a.k.a. not showing my opponent any mental weakness. It’s only coming to attention now that this is probably because I’ve had good practice at it off the court too. I’ve always had the tendency to internalize emotions and not express them to anyone, especially off the court.
It’s helped me on the court because I’m an absolute warrior. I don’t show my opponent anything. I could be losing badly and it would look like I wasn’t aware. I could be winning by a large margin and it would look like I forgot. Which is good. This characteristic of mine is one of the reasons I have good mental strength in tennis.
But, I’m trying to be more accepting of my emotions, positive and negative, and I wish there was a way for me to outwardly express my frustration on court without it being a detriment to my game. Sometimes I wish I could smash rackets without it hurting my tennis game or my wallet. As I progress, I’ll try internally acknowledging my frustration instead of resisting it.
In the meantime, off the court, I’ll try to remind myself that it’s okay to experience negative emotion. If we never experienced negative emotion, we would have no idea how euphoric positive emotion feels.