It’s every player’s worse nightmare. One moment you’re in complete control of the match and one point away from victory. The next, you let your opponent and the match slip through your fingers. And now, you’re looking for a rock to crawl under. You got to match point, and images of a victory celebration clouded your focus. Your concentration wavered, and so did the playing style that brought you to the brink of a win. All you’re left with are thoughts of what might have been.
Devastating meltdowns are common at all levels – even the pros. While choking away a recreational match won’t cost you what it would a professional, the trauma of the experience still takes a heavy toll in terms of lost confidence and added fear and doubt in future matches.
How can you prevent a heart-breaking loss from shattering your game and sabotaging future matches? Here are some strategies to help you overcome a tough loss and reduce the chances of a repeat performance.
Congratulate your opponent.
When the match is over, immediately shake the other player’s hand. No matter how difficult this may be, credit your opponent for her ability to hang in there. This will remove you from the “why me” syndrome, which only worsens matters.
Don’t make excuses.
There are many reasons for the outcome, but the fact is, you lost. Attribute the results to both your opponent’s strengths and your own shortcomings. Make a list of everything you’ll do better next time and make them your future goals.
Avoid prolonged distress.
Come to grips with your anger, but don’t overdo it. Dwelling on painful emotions may create a second trauma and a barrier to future success. Use this defeat as your
motivation to improve.
Tap into the opposition’s success.
Yes, your opponent won against incredible odds, but you’re capable of making an amazing comeback, too. You already feel terrible, so reflect on the positive emotions your opponent is now experiencing. Next time, it could be you.
Flip the script.
Review what just transpired, then imagine it repeatedly with the opposite ending. Realize how gratifying it would be to win. You’ll soon realize any remaining negative feelings, and this heartbreaker will vanish. Suddenly, you’ll be hungry for the next match!
Do you have other advice that has helped you deal with a tough loss? Please share it with us in the comments below 🙂