I’m all for a good “come on” after a heated set, a high-five with your partner after a great point, or a loud grunt on a winning shot. But, when things aren’t going your way, is it okay to toss the racket across the court, or as I’ve seen on more than one occasion, across two courts and over the fence to the parking lot? Honestly, I can understand being so frustrated with my racket that I WANT to toss it that far….Heck, even the pros lose their cool from time to time!
So what do I think is an acceptable amount of racket abuse in a match? I’d like to be an idealist and tell you that absolutely none is acceptable. That’s what I’m supposed to say. Unfortunately, I’m also a tennis player so I know this just isn’t realistic for a lot of us! So, instead, I will tell you that as in everything, moderation is the key. Be sure your racket abuse doesn’t draw a crowd (we’d rather people watch you because of your fabulous performance – or your fabulous new matching shoes and visor) than for the meltdown. Don’t cross the line that makes you the highlight of the lunch gossip afterwards.
(My famous note of contradiction: If you haven’t been mad enough during a match to WANT to throw your racket then you’re either just VERY good and haven’t been put in this position, you’re not challenged enough at your level OR you’re not tapping deep enough into your competitive inner self!)
Here’s a “good” way to teach your racket a lesson without making a scene or drawing attention to the fact that your patience level is disintegrating. Drop it from your hands exactly where you are when the point ends and walk away at least 10 steps to pick up the balls (if you don’t have a ball to pick up – take it out of your pocket and roll it to the fence – don’t throw this either). Walk back to your racket counting backwards from 10 to 1 with each step being aware of slowing your breathing. On the way back visualize your perfect swing in your mind and imagine that your racket has the power to create that swing for you. You’ll make friends with your racket again and be ready to go onto the next point!
So what’s your story? Ever thrown your racket in a match or watched an opponent have a racket throwing meltdown? Share it with us… Either way it usually makes for a good laugh later.