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Turning Bad Weather into a Good Advantage

With his permission, below is a reprint of a recent article written by professional tennis coach and mindset expert, David Sammel. We will be reprinting additional articles from David over the coming months. Please be sure to visit his website, Mindset College, for more information on David and his offerings. You can also download David’s FREE 4-Step Reset Guide at https://www.mindsetcollege.co.uk/the-4-step-reset.

You may have noticed that this year’s Wimbledon saw its fair share of rain. Which of course is nothing out of the ordinary for an outdoor tournament. Especially one taking place in Southwest London.

But even though it does happen quite often, the weather still has the ability to throw the schedule into chaos. Which means it can have an impact on you as a spectator. Because you might miss the match you really wanted to see that day. So your experience at Wimbledon is now tarnished. All because the heavens chose to open at the wrong moment. Better luck next year, I guess. 

Now, I think it’s safe to say that this is something we’ve all experienced as fans. But have you ever considered the impact this rescheduling has on the players themselves? Because for players, a rain delay can be a logistical nightmare. Particularly for those inexperienced at Grand Slam level, where matches can be anywhere between 2 and 5.5 hours. 

Take, for example, Djokovic’s last-16 match at Wimbledon. His game, already carried over from the previous day due to the weather, was scheduled to follow the Rybakina vs Haddad Maia match. An unexpected twist occurred when Haddad Maia got injured halfway through the first set and was forced to retire. Suddenly, Djokovic and his opponent, Hurkacz, had a mere 30 minutes to prepare for their match. A stark contrast to the 90 minutes they had anticipated.  

But as you already saw the previous day with the weather, the reverse can also happen. And players might find themselves having to warm up two or three times for the same match before they can finally step on-court. So you can see this disruption can go both ways. And across the spectrum of tennis levels as well. Because even those playing at a much lower level than Djokovic and Hurkacz can feel the sting of schedule changes. They too have to juggle their warm-up routines, nutrition plans, and mental preparation. So it’s necessary for them to learn how to navigate the way tennis scheduling works. And be ready for how varied their start time can be. Because the reality is that this unpredictability is just part of the game. There’s no getting away from it.

Whether that’s the weather, injury or a match ahead of you that’s never going to end. Being able to navigate these disruptions is crucial to being ready when it’s finally time for your match. Especially if the goal is to become a true competitor. Because these are the exact moments when your mindset becomes your greatest weapon.  

And while it takes time to develop these skills, I have a simple strategy to help players manage unexpected changes: 

1) Work out the approximate time of your match under normal circumstances.

2) Be on your guard for potential disruptions like an unexpected default or a match going on too long. 

3) Tailor your warm-up, nutrition, and pre-match routines based on real-time developments. 

By repeating these steps, you’ll be more prepared to handle sudden changes without stress. Improving your chances of winning.

And if your opponent hasn’t adapted as well as you have to the changes, you might gain a significant advantage in that match. And in a game like tennis, where the margins can be razor thin, this advantage will make all the difference in the world.

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