Iโ€™m not going to lie, I had some nightmares about this heartbreaking final. You donโ€™t want it to happen again. So I was really focused on going into this match. I really wanted that win.
— Felix Auger-Aliassime (2016 US Open Boy's Champion)

Just a few months ago, Felix Auger-Aliassime had 3 match points in the final of the Junior French Open, where he eventually lost 8-6 in the third set.  Fast forward to September and Felix is a Junior US Open champion at only 16 years old.  This time, the final had little drama, with Felix winning a 6-3, 6-0 match that was never in doubt.  The quote above offers a glimpse into Auger-Aliassime's mindset and motivation and how he used the French Open heartbreak to propel himself forward.

Roll with the Losses

One of the most important skills an athlete needs to have is the ability to roll with the losses and maintain confidence and motivation. As former top 10 ATP player Todd Martin once told me, "If a player wants to be great he has to have the stomach for losing."  Especially in a sport like tennis, where there is only one player who does not lose in a tournament, having the skill of resiliency is what will eventually separate the good from the great.  But like every other skill, building a resiliency for losing must be developed, starting with an understanding of what to take away and what to toss. 

Spend your Losses Like Cash

I have a saying that a player should spend his losses like cash, meaning that he/she needs to find the value (what to learn from the loss) and use the information to move on.  I find that most players hold onto losses way too long and do not focus on the information that really matters (i.e., what needs to improve, how to prevent the mistakes in the future).  Although Auger-Aliassime was holding onto his previous loss in the finals, he directed it in a positive manner; he used it to propel himself to a higher level and take advantage of the next opportunity. In essence, he allowed the loss to motivate himself to be better.  

Put 100% of Yourself into Preparing for the Next Challenge

I shared an article a few weeks ago about former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy and how he handled being fired in Tampa. In short, he talked about turning 100% of his attention and effort to his new team (the Colts). He would use everything he learned (both good and bad) from his time in Tampa to become an even better coach in Indianapolis. This is a great approach and is how I coach players to work through their mistakes and losses; PUT 100% OF YOURSELF INTO PREPARING FOR THE NEXT CHALLENGE. The longer a player stays in the past the less time he/she has to start getting ready for the next match. 

Take control of your training and mindset. The choice is yours how to move on during tough times. Believe in yourself and trust your abilities.

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