Tennis in The Zone 2
Approaching the game differently
If you go back in time to your first steps on the tennis court, can you remember why you came back the second time and many times after that? What was your motivation to return to the court and persistently hit the ball over and over, perfecting your serve, backhand, forehand, slice...?
Did it matter then how many matches you were going to win in the future, or did you just enjoy the game, learning about tennis, practicing your technique and taking pleasure in every well executed move? While in the back of your mind you probably had a desire to become a world-class tennis player and experience the feeling of winning matches and tournaments, you were not burdened by your ambition - you came back to that court because you enjoyed the game, you loved the sport and the wonderful feeling of being better at it with every new and improved skill.
Difficulties with the approach to the game
It is today's reality that many things are measured by the number of wins and defeats. As the value of players is determined by their rank on the list, directly determining their financial security and earning potential, it becomes natural to start treating tennis as a job and forgetting and neglecting the reasons you joined this sport in the first place.
When you learn and accept from your early age that only wins are good and worth remembering, while defeats are something bad that should be forgotten, it is very easy to detach yourself from the correct approach to sport and accept the superficial indicators of your value. Many players start valuing themselves according to these superficial indicators, instead of relying on their inner self as the true measurement of their self-worth. They forget that wonderful inner feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that used to be their main motivation in the beginning, driving them to excel and master the arts of this wonderful sport. They remove themselves more and more from the natural ability to enter the "zone", as they detach from their inner selves and become more focused on the external value indicators.
Naturally, this is especially strongly present with professional players, who are faced with many additional aggravating factors in their lives, making it harder for them to focus on inner peace and motivation, which can enable them to enter and play in the "zone".
What are those aggravating factors and circumstances that make it hard for professional players to play in the "zone"?
Every player who chooses to play competitive tennis faces a large number of obstacles. Primarily, the need to cover the costs of training and travel puts a very different focus on the game and changes the approach on to how they play each match.
The picture appears clear: more wins = more benefits, more defeats = more problems... Having more victories than defeats becomes the primary purpose of the game for the new professional player: with each win their rank improves, they receive recognition, see their picture in the newspaper, receive prizes and earn money. Each defeat takes that away and makes it harder to achieve their professional objectives. They become obsessed with winning, which makes it very hard to achieve any different focus with their game.
This situation completely changes the initial motivation and the inner pleasure the player had when they started playing tennis. The tennis stops being seen or enjoyed as art - it becomes a continuous battle. Each match turns into a vicious struggle with an opponent, making players approach their game as a modern gladiator fight rather than a tennis match.
More their focus is preoccupied with the external factors, less likely they will be able to achieve conditions needed to enter and play in the "zone". The inner feeling of satisfaction can only be achieved accidentally and for a short period of time, without ability to control the focus necessary for staying within the "zone".