The winner of Sportsmart and Wilson’s tennis sponsorship program, Scott Lyons, provides regular blog articles on his favourite topic – tennis …
Suppose you are playing in the final of a local tennis tournament. You call your opponents forehand ‘out’. However, as you look a little bit closer, you notice that the ball is in by a few millimetres. You take a glance to the other side of the court and notice that your opponent has accepted the ‘out’ call and is walking to the other side of the court. Would you correct your original call, and concede the point
Many in this situation, knowing they can get away with it- would not correct themselves, despite knowing this is not the sportsmanlike thing to do. In tennis, good sportsmanship means to play fair and to respect your opponent- win or lose.
Nobody likes to lose and when you have trained hard your whole life, it can be hard to admit a loss as a result of your own doing. It is important to not blame the balls, court, your racquet or the weather conditions for losing a match. Remember, sometimes your opponent can just be too good on the day. Only a mature and positive attitude to losing can help your game. You cannot learn from your mistakes if you refuse to admit them.
Similarly, being gracious in victory is an important element of good sportsmanship. While it is always a good feeling to win a match, keep in mind how your opponent would be feeling for losing the match. A compliment never goes astray, and it all makes for a friendlier environment.
What are the benefits of demonstrating sportsmanship? Well not only can you enjoy a win knowing you won fairly on your own merit, but it will help your game dramatically. When you stay cool and calm on the court, not only does it help you stay composed, but it sends a powerful message to your opponent that you aren’t letting down. We all know the confidence you receive when you see your opponent rattled, so don’t let your opponent receive that same confidence.
The large majority of players do exhibit good sportsmanship, and while they may not necessarily be the best players, it is those people who really enjoy playing tennis the most.