Mental Toughness in Tennis and Poker
I’ve been playing a “little” tennis lately. (Editor’s Note: Steve is obsessed with tennis. He plays seven days a week. It’s all he ever talks about.  He by no means shuts up.)
I’m amazed how two seemingly unrelated sports (tennis and poker) have so significantly in typical. I’ve been annihilating tennis opponents left and proper lately. And no, it isn’t due to the fact I’m strictly better than them.  I’ve only been playing a small more than a year, and some of them have been playing for decades. I win because I’m mentally tougher than they are.
Tennis, like poker, is all about staying in control of your feelings. It’s about entertaining nothing at all but constructive thoughts although waiting for your opponent to crack under the pressure. This mental toughness is what will take you to the win.
I had a tennis match yesterday. Here in Florida it was more than 90 degrees outdoors, with nearly one hundred% humidity. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the sun was beating down on us. It would have been straightforward to begin thinking damaging thoughts about the miserable playing conditions. Instead, I looked at the good.  I’m a native Floridian, I can manage the heat. I had brought a gallon of Gatorade. My opponent was initially from Michigan. The sweat was pouring off him in buckets.  I knew he would crack sooner or later. About an hour into the match, he began slowing down. By hour two he looked prepared to dial 9-1-1. I won very easily in straight sets. It wasn’t my superior tennis skills that got me there, it was my mental toughness.
Poker is the same way. It’s so straightforward to let unfavorable thoughts creep in. One factor that performs for me is to be conscious of the damaging thoughts and take actions to get rid of them. Has any person reading this ever caught themselves considering factors like these?
1.      “Oh no, I cannot think that annoying guy is at my table. I often lose when he’s at my table.”
2.      “I forgot to (put on my lucky shirt, bring my fortunate card protector, etc).  I know I’m going to lose.”
3.      “Oh no, not today, this is a huge tournament, I can’t think I drew the 1 seat.  I hate being next to the dealer, I can never ever see, and I’m always worried they’ll muck my hand by accident. I’m going to drop for certain these days.”
Anytime I catch a believed like these pass by means of my thoughts, I’m determined to prove it incorrect. I’ll try extra difficult to win that day, to teach my subconscious mind to cease harboring poor thoughts. I’ll even purposefully NOT put on my lucky shirt, just to prove to myself that I don’t need it to win.
In some approaches tennis players are even WORSE than poker players with their negative thinking. Typically I show up to a tennis match, and before the match even begins, my opponent says something like, “Just to let you know, my knee is type of bothering me, it may well be a element today” or “I’m attempting out a new racquet nowadays not confident however how properly it will perform out”.  How about that – the match hasn’t even Started However and they are already generating excuses!
It’s excellent to know about pot odds, blockers, hand ranges, and squeeze plays.  It’s genuinely critical you know these factors, and to implement your information when you play. And but, I can not tension adequate that your attitude is going to establish whether or not you win or lose at poker. So make sure to bring your mental toughness to the table and maintain your thoughts focused on playing to win.