Many players believe that as their skill level improves, they will feel less pressure when competing. The reality is that it is all relative. As your performance level increases, so does the level of your opponents and the demands of the game. As a beginner, you get nervous because you are not sure if you can get the second serve in. As a pro, you get nervous because if you do not get the second serve in at 100 mph and close to the line, you will certainly lose the point.

The important advice here is to accept that there is always going to be pressure as long as you play, and the best way to start managing pressure better is to expect it. Many players panic once they start feeling anxious because they perceive pressure as a threat, not as something that is part of the game. They see pressure as a weakness, which makes things worse. As soon as you accept that it is normal to feel pressure, it becomes much easier to work on strategies to overcome it. It is not about eliminating pressure but about accepting it as part of the game and learning to deal with it.

So, do not avoid pressure situations, seek them and enjoy the challenge. Learn how pressure feels to you. What causes it? What are your reactions to it? Try different strategies to deal with different uncomfortable situations and discover what works.

Pressure is part of the game just like the net and the lines. Accept it and enjoy the battle!

Edgar Giffenig