After winning the first USTA District Championship from their town, a 2.5 women’s doubles team contacted Head Coaching for advice as they prepared for Sectionals. This doubles pair suspected that the entire team’s outcome depended on their last match at Sectionals. In addition to the inordinate amount of pressure that created, the pair was matched with an outstanding server—an opponent who had easily won all of her service games and was now serving for the match that determined who would win.
The Head Coach Approach
Instead of fearing their opponent, the doubles teammates remembered what they had learned in their Head Coaching sessions with Dr. Petro: remain in the present. As a result, rather than dreading the serve and consuming valuable energy with fear and negativity, they engaged in positive self-talk and reminded themselves to concentrate on getting the ball back over the net. They also switched their focus— they may not be able to control their opponent, but they can control their own behavior. Dr. Petro’s sessions had prepared them for this match-defining moment. In fact, the doubles teammates said:
“We have attended three of Sharon’s sessions and have found them to be useful in teaching us some of the mental skills that are helpful during tough matches. On the court we have discovered first hand how improving our mental strength can help us beat players with more skill!”
–Brenda Myers, Captain
Keely Hass, Assistant Captain
Boar’s Head Sports Club
Women’s 2.5 team
The teammates broke their opponent’s serve and went on to win the set and the entire match in a third set tiebreaker. Even though the women believed that their opponent’s tennis skills were stronger, they practiced what they had learned—to remain in the present—and they pulled through to achieve the win. This doubles team went on to Nationals.