February tip of the month: Frustration and anger


Players often lament a missed a shot they ‘should’ have made.

Much of the source of the anger and frustration competitors experience stems from this root: missing shots that we believe we ‘should’ have made.

However, closer examination reveals that this word ‘should’ reveals a lack of understanding of what is really involved in executing a successful shot.

Let us examine and explore this simple and much-misunderstood concept.

‘Should’, implies that the shot is easy. Why is it considered easy? Is it easy because the technical skill required to hit the shot is very low?

Most probably, but if it was really so easy, why would we all miss these type of shots so frequently?

There must be something more involved.

Is technical skill all that is necessary in order to execute a winning shot or any shot for that matter? Careful consideration will reveal that technical skill is simply one, albeit the most obvious, of the components necessary.

So, what else is required for successful execution of any shot?

In my opinion, the single most important ingredient for a successful shot is timing: the ability to bring the racket and ball together at exactly the ‘right’ time (a mystery in itself, something that it is not possible to calculate).

Timing skills are both easier and more difficult to master than technical skills.  Easier, because timing requires trusting oneself and committing to our swing, whatever it may be.  More difficult, because all effort to succeed creates a hindrance and it is so hard to simply observe without interfering.

As we become more aware of the timing skills required for successful execution, the chances are we will realize that there is no such thing as an ‘easy’ shot.   Perhaps, through that understanding our anger and frustration will diminish and we can be less hard on ourselves!

Next month we will explore what timing is and what skills are necessary to improve timing.

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