How to "Fail Better" in Tennis: Self-Evolution required for long term Success

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”

Tattooed on Stanislas Wawrinka's forearm is this quote by poet Samuel Beckett.

The quote is especially meaningful because it describes the nature of struggle in life as in tennis. The trials and tribulations we all must endure to reach our goals. Because there is always an adversary, always an opponent (sometimes ourselves), the quote seems appropriately universal.

Stan said: "you need to take the positive of the loss and you need to go back to work.”

If we seek to win a tennis match and we fail, that lose is not a permanent outcome. To most players, defeat is the end result - it is not. Because there are inevitably more matches, more trials, more struggles against the same opponent or conditions in the future the key is to maximize the knowledge gained from that one result.

They say the definition of Insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Another way to put it: change a losing game plan, and stay the course with a winning one.

A great book I've recently discovered with a similar name "How to Fail..." by the creator of Dilbert is a funny and great read!

In sports, some players will have superstitions. If certain streaks continue, they will do silly things to help it along. Conversely, if they lose badly, they want to change anything/everything to get rid of the "curse".

Superstition aside; the fundamental principle is this: don't accept failure sitting down.

If there is any vested interest to win, then you have to change. If you show me someone who doesn't ever win and refuses to ever change or work harder, you have a fool.

If you keep trying and keep changing AND keep losing, then perhaps you need to find a different sport...but at least you know you made intelligent attempts - infinitely better.

Tennis offers you chances to evolve and grown within a match and outside a match. If you begin to feel the tide of a match going against you, what *must* start to happen:

Self Evolution: basic steps toward improvement

1) Awareness - figure out when your current trend is going south
2) Identification - Pick up the key indicators and important facts from what has happened - *why* things have changed.
3) Adjustment - What is Plan B? Do you have a plan B? If not, make one up - do not repeat the same patterns if it clearly does not work.
4) Modification - Are you able to implement this new game plan?
5) Assessment (and repeat) - If so, you have to take careful mental notes of how the change is effecting the game. If the opponent can re-adjust as well to your best attempts at plan B, be sure to know this is different than being incapable of executing properly - big difference.

Next article:
Most common mistakes people make going for Plan B.