Saturday, January 23, 2016

How poker makes me a better tennis player

I wanted to share something from my personal journal about how the poker mindset helps me be a better tennis player.

Last edited 1/23/2014


There are many skills I learned in poker I wish I had learned in competitive tennis.


1. Caring about the result too much will stunt your growth.


Having success in the under 10 and 12s can sometimes stunt the growth of a tennis player. At those stages, generally the more mentally focused player who can make fewer mistakes and take care of the ball will win a ton of matches. However, in the long run, without developing a more offensive game, it’s extremely difficult to excel at higher levels. Players often refuse to alter parts of their game or strategies for long-term development in favor of short-term success. This was definitely my biggest weakness in tennis because I feared and detested losing so much. At the same time, this also helped develop my competitive edge.


In poker, you can play the hand perfectly right and still lose…quite often. My greatest weakness in tennis carried over to poker. I would obsess over my results, constantly checking my exact dollar progress during every session or recounting my chips. What I really should have been doing was focusing on what the right play to make was and how to exploit my opponent’s weaknesses. It took me a long time to figure out that each individual hand didn’t really matter that much. It’s about playing the percentages and making the right decision time and time again to be a winner in the long run. In poker, making the best decision is the execution, while in tennis you also have to worry about the physical execution. With a better mental state, you give yourself the best opportunity to execute.


2. Poker teaches you to be humble and how to handle failure.
Rafael Nadal comes to mind. While having millions of dollars, Nadal carries his own bags and plays like he is broke. His humility is what makes him so dangerous and his effort level is always amazing. It’s also how he always keeps improving. It’s hard to improve when you already think you’re the greatest. But if you’re not improving, you’re falling behind the competition. It’s not hard to see why Rafa’s attitude has translated to his quick growth as a poker player as well. On the other hand, being guilty of being a cocky, spoiled tennis player growing up, poker really taught me how to be humble out of necessity and I wish I had learned this attitude earlier.


You’re not always going to have positive feedback in poker. Being a poker player means that you are going to have losing days and downswings. Complaining about a bad beat is similar to a boxer complaining about getting punched. What you need to be doing is manage your bankroll and play enough volume to withstand the variance. There’s a delicate balance between confidence and arrogance. To clarify, I think it’s obviously good to be confident in your abilities, but you have to remember that nobody deserves anything. The worst player can get lucky at any time and take your stack. Stay humble and alert!


3. Poker taught me to observe and identify what my optimal state to compete is.
Before each session, I pre-game by making sure I’m in the right mindset for poker. It’s about rituals, rhythm, and balance. What do I have to do to put myself into the best mindset to win? For me, there are a few things that ideally need to happen before I play a session.
1. I need to feel physically fit. This is more important than I ever thought. Being physically fit allows me to play long hours during the tournament season and focus mentally. It really just translates to better overall performance. For tennis, my coach preached that you should never lose a match on fitness because that just means you’re not training hard enough. There’s a certain confidence you feel when you know you can outlast your opponent.
2. I deal with my nerves. Sometimes I still get a little nervous before poker sessions. It’s important to realize that it’s natural and okay to be nervous. In fact, it just shows that you care. Do what you need to do to calm yourself down and transmute that nervous energy into productive, focused energy. Have a pre-game playlist to listen to or a pre-game checklist. I have mine posted on my wall in front of my desk and had a checklist in my racquet bag. I also take my PPP if I need it (pre-poker poop). I went to the bathroom before every single tennis match and I found that it would always relieve my nerves.  


In poker you have to be more adaptable. You need to be ready at any moment’s notice because you never know when a game is going to run. In tennis, you know what time you are going to play and can schedule your day accordingly. My tennis ritual was very consistent and allowed me to feel a sense of security. I would eat either a turkey sandwich or a bagel 1.5 hours before my match and then warm up for 30-40 minutes. Then I would go to the restroom and check in 20-30 minutes before my match and listen to music on my headphones and walk around near the check in desk until my name was called.  


Everyone is different, so you must take note of how you feel and find out what is optimal for you. Ask yourself the right questions. For instance, do you need to be alone or is socializing before a match good for you? How long do you need to warm up for? I know for me, limited social interaction was preferred and that I perform optimally when I am in more of a “silent killer” mode. It’s that quiet confidence you feel when you don’t doubt what you’re doing but don’t feel any need to brag about it. It’s about staying present. The only thing on your mind is being alert and handling business as usual.


4. Being honest with your weaknesses and working on improving them.
Being honest in poker is crucial to development. Do the math to find out if you were right or not. If you are not honest in your play and just attribute your losses to bad luck when in fact you are making the wrong decision then you will have to find a new profession soon.


My biggest regret in tennis? Not hitting more practice serves. At the time, I was immature and didn’t want to work on it because it was boring. Looking back, now I would kill to be able to hit 30 minutes of serves a day. Sometimes in order to get to what you want, you need to do things that you don’t necessarily want to do. Do it before it’s too late or regret it like me.


5. Focusing on the things you can control.
In poker, you can manipulate your opponents to perform certain actions, but you certainly cannot control that unlucky river card nor can you put a gun to your opponent’s head to make him fold. Poker can be a cruel game with mean people. People will try to swindle you into giving them more information. How will you handle yourself then? Will you keep your calm, not give anything away and keep your class or will you complain and lose your cool?
Similarly, think about how this translates to tennis. How do you handle things when your opponent is cheating or zoning? Do you panic and complain, or do you find a solution? If you give up that mental focus, then you are reacting the way your opponent wants. You should continue to think about what you’re going to do to counter your opponent’s play and adapt accordingly. Make life difficult for your opponents!

Poker teaches you how to make decisions and this easily applies to tennis. You know in your heart what the right play is. This not only includes on court training and tactical decisions, but off court mental preparation as well. The sacrifices you make such as coming home earlier to rest from your Friday hangouts and eating a healthy diet will pay off in the long run. All you can do is be honest and try your best. Once you realize that that’s all you can do, just keep focusing on how to improve yourself and cancel out the noise.

40 comments:

  1. Your blogs are totally value gift compute and energy. juegosdecasinoonlinecolombia.com.co

    ReplyDelete
  2. 6 Best Beginner Tennis Racquets, inspected! The best technique to find the perfect racquet for men and women. Checking ratty racquets under $100. Get your new racquet! best tennis racket under 5o

    ReplyDelete
  3. thebankrollers.com Appreciate you sharing, great article post.Really thank you! Great.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So the next time you think about playing poker online,cara main bandar poker consider using the codes and algorithms created by the poker site to your advantage. They are there to prevent the poker bots from winning, but not you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Remember, in most by far of casino diversions the player is paid by means of a payout toward the finish of the game. Click here

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just admiring your work and wondering how you managed this blog so well. It’s so remarkable that I can't afford to not go through this valuable information whenever I surf the internet! poker online

    ReplyDelete
  7. Also, there are some withdrawal regulations that come with your first deposit casino, but nevertheless it a great thing for you. There is also the play money casino. Play money is essentially money awarded for free once you register with an online casino. You cannot withdraw this money, but you can use them to play. Fun88 login

    ReplyDelete
  8. Also, the installation of any type of program is even not required to allow the user to take pleasure in the casino games. Just a browser is what the user needs to have to play the casino games and win great amounts. Ceme Online

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post. I will visit your blog regularly for Some latest post. Situs BandarQ Online

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us. Situs QQ

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign. บาคาร่า

    ReplyDelete
  12. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. ฟันธงบอลวันนี้

    ReplyDelete
  13. Having been in the casino party and planning business for many years I have heard from customers some very sad stories of what occurred at their casino fundraiser and I would like to pass to you the 7 steps you must follow to ensure you have a successful casino fundraiser and hire the BEST casino party company for your event. read more

    ReplyDelete
  14. Now, like we said before, Villento Casino is a good example of one of the lesser known casinos, but in this case it can be as trusted as any other casino that is a part of Casino Rewards Group. But where Villento Casino may lack in fame - certainly this casino compensates this through their extensive bonuses. click here

    ReplyDelete
  15. The writer is enthusiastic about purchasing wooden furniture on the web and his exploration about best wooden furniture has brought about the arrangement of this article. Dang nhap loto188

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just admiring your work and wondering how you managed this blog so well. It’s so remarkable that I can't afford to not go through this valuable information whenever I surf the internet! Poker

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice blog and absolutely outstanding. You can do something much better but i still say this perfect.Keep trying for the best. Poker Online

    ReplyDelete
  18. HepiQQ adalah Agen Judi PokerQQ Online, Situs BandarQQ yang menyediakan permainan DominoQQ maupun game BandarQ terpopuler, Join HepiQQ daftar Poker QQ gratis.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 수많은 사설토토사이트중 오직 먹튀없는 안전놀이터만을 7년간 무사고로 검증하고 추천해온 토토정입니다. 오랫동안 많은분들과 소통하며 오직 신용을 최우선시 하는 토토정과 함께하시면 2019년도 안전하고 즐겁게 토토를 즐기실수 있습니다!! 토토

    ReplyDelete
  20. Having every one of the courtesies; a real poker table with, poker chips, great lighting, agreeable seats, a powerful planning framework and a fitting stylistic theme would make your poker evenings or home poker competition a fun and energizing background. DNA Naga

    ReplyDelete
  21. At first, stakes ought to be limited to playing for gloating rights or for extremely low stakes. The poker gathering ought to incorporate players who are at a similar phase of learning, in any event until there is a comprehension of all the essential guidelines and strategies.poker1001

    ReplyDelete
  22. Mister4D adalah Bandar Bola terpercaya yang menawarkan jasa Taruhan Online terbaik seperti Taruhan Bola, Sabung Ayam, Casino Online, Poker Online dan juga Judi Togel Online. Mister4D telah dikenal sebagai salah satu perusahaan Judi Online resmi dan sudah mengantongi Lisensi Resmi dari pemerintah Filipina. Didukung oleh Staff terbaik dan berpengalaman menjadi suatu nilai tambahan bagi Website ini dengan pelayanan yang memuaskan. Web ini terus meningkatkan kualitasnya dengan menyediakan layanan dukungan berupa Customer Service yang online 24 jam untuk melayani para pelanggan. Sudah saatnya anda menjadikan Web ini sebagai salah satu Partner Betting anda untuk menikmati kepuasan dalam bermain. Masih ada Bonus dan Promo menarik yang akan dibagikan untuk anda setiap hari. agen togel online

    ReplyDelete
  23. Likewise with a considerable lot of the predominant online poker player, Alex has begun spreading out in live poker competitions, and will positively be an intense out in any live or online poker competition he enters. poker qq online gamepokerqq

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. PingPongStart

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hey what a brilliant post I have come across and believe me I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. bandar bola online

    ReplyDelete
  26. On the off chance that you are a poker chip gatherer, it is essential to figure out how to distinguish bona fide casino poker chips.Bandar Judi Slot

    ReplyDelete
  27. It will be in addition a tremendous write-up i usually without a doubt liked inspecting. It's not actually inevitably day-to-day i usually build up the possibility to see all sorts of things. Domino99

    ReplyDelete
  28. The $5.00 chip is red with blue and yellow shading; each chip is durable enough for gambling club or home play. Likewise, each chip is intended to resemble a round poker table, its one cool looking imprint. gamepokerqq

    ReplyDelete
  29. SultanQQ merupakan situs yang menyediakan permainan domino online dan bandarq juga poker terbaik di Indonesia. Dengan memakai server poker pkv yang terkenal ini, situs agen dominoqq online ini memang menjadi tempat yang sangat tepat buat kamu bermain permainan kartu qq online. Banyak sudah member kami yang telah merasakan kemenangan yang di raih ketika bermain di Sultanqq, dengan tingkat kemenangan atau winrate yang tinggi, dapat dipastikan kamu akan merasakan kemenangan besar dengan withdraw terbaik yang bisa kamu dapatkan bersama kami. Layanan pelanggan kami melalui customer care 24jam akan siap membantu kamu dalam menjawab setiap pertanyaan yang kamu ajukan demi kenyamanan juga kelancaran dalam permainan dominoqq online. Dan juga proses transaksi baik itu deposit dan penarikan dana diproses dengan cepat karena dukungan dari bank lokal terbesar di Indonesia. Jika kalian merupakan pemain poker yang sangat ingin menang maka bersama SultanQQ adalah pilihan yang sangat tepat sekali.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Such sites are important because they provide a large dose of useful information ... BOTAKQQ

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your content is nothing short of bright in many forms. I think this is friendly and eye-opening material. I have gotten so many ideas from your blog. Thank you so much. pokerqq

    ReplyDelete
  32. Its an incredible joy perusing your post.Its brimming with data I am searching for and I want to post a remark that "The substance of your post is magnificent" Great work.  파워볼엔트리

    ReplyDelete
  33. Their is nothing progressively dull at that point sitting for 30 minutes or an hour just to get in on a game. gamepokerqq online

    ReplyDelete
  34. Poker casinos offer players the chance to wager huge. It isn't to such an extent as the house winning as it is a gifted player taking the pot. Yet, before the cards are rearranged, each player needs to know the principles. 메이저놀이터

    ReplyDelete
  35. Description: GoPkv - Kumpulan situs Pkv Games dominoqq, dominobet, domino99, bandarqq, qq online, aduq, sakong, dan pokerqq terlengkap dan terpercaya. https://gopkv.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Regular visits listed here are the easiest method to appreciate your energy, which is why why I am going to the website everyday, searching for new, interesting info. Many, thank you 라이브카지노

    ReplyDelete
  37. I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. 에볼루션카지노

    ReplyDelete
  38. Think of the advantages if you are the one who has the poker room in your man cave. Being at home you don't have far to travel. You and your friends would be assured of having a well-equipped, comfortable and well-stocked regular place to play.카지노사이트

    ReplyDelete
  39. Good website! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes it is. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS which may do the trick? Have a great day! 언오버먹튀

    ReplyDelete