How to Handle pre-Match Nerves


The importance of Empathy in tennis is discussed and how we should understand how our opponents are feeling.

Responses (9)

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  1. Ted
    April 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm · Reply

    Excellent reminder and something that many of us know and have forgotten. It reminds me of a wrestling round robin I was in. Each person was matched up against another person and the winners moved on. I won my first 2 and for the 3rd round in my mind I thought I could not win and was very nervous. Then I noticed that my opponents stomach was making his shirt move and realized my opponent was as nervous as me and maybe a little more. I relaxed and won the match. I’m not sure if I would have won if I hadn’t noticed his stress.

  2. Sylvester Zungu
    April 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm · Reply

    Thanks you help me saw much I’m going to ask my players student about empathy.

  3. Joe Geissman
    April 19, 2016 at 12:30 am · Reply

    Thanks Jorge,

    This video comes at a perfect time as I have many first year players on my team dealing with this.

  4. Coach Bob
    April 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm · Reply

    Jorge –
    Advice couldn’t have come at a better time. After a high school match last week, my No. 1 girl commented: “I was happy to win one game in the match. I went on-line and looked up the school we were going to play. They’re good.” As the match was played out, she could have been competitive. She had talked herself out of the match before it even started. Perhaps I should have discussed empathy with her beforehand.

  5. Ida
    April 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm · Reply

    Thank you so much this really helps to get the focus off our nerves and anxieties.. Would like to hear more on this Subject… Again, THANK YOU!

  6. Henry Abrahams
    April 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm · Reply

    Hey, Jorge!

    This is something my junior and adult players have been dealing with. I appreciate the insight.
    Keep it up!

  7. Wendy
    June 25, 2015 at 4:25 am · Reply


    I’ve never really thought about my opponent being nervous! I’ve always assumed they had to be better than me if I didn’t know them. I recently got to a playoff situation in a doubles competition and my partner was very stressed about the game because we knew they had beaten us before in the earlier rounds. Her nerves were greater than mine and I just said I was going to think about my game and not focus on how good they were. As the match unfolded my partner got more and more agitated because we were losing which kind of ruined my own focus and made me more defensive rather than aggressive. I think I would handle such a situation differently in the future because of this empathy strategy. They were probably nervous about us too because they had to beat us to win the grade and our score was not so one sided before. Had I mentioned this to her she would probably have been less stressed. THANKS A BUNCH.

  8. harlan
    June 25, 2015 at 2:16 am · Reply

    Hi Jorge-
    As usual, another very helpful and insightful video. This is an aspect of tennis that is, for the most part, entirely overlooked. Thanks for revealing this completely “other side” thinking and feeling…! Keep up the great work. Really appreciate all that you and Carlie and Marty do.

  9. Anne Benda
    June 24, 2015 at 10:37 pm · Reply

    Thanks, Jorge, Marti and Carli. Great advice.

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