Megan Moulton-Levy blog: Tips on staying mentally fresh

March 7, 2017 07:00 AM

Megan Moulton-Levy competed on the WTA Tour in both singles and doubles, advancing to the round of 32 at all four Grand Slam tournaments and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 50 in the world in doubles in July 2013. Moulton-Levy was a four-year standout at the College of William & Mary from 2004-08, where she earned All-America honors six times and reached the 2006 NCAA singles semifinals and the 2007 NCAA doubles final. A two-time recipient of the National ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, Moulton-Levy currently serves as a senior coach at the JTCC in College Park, Md. For the next several weeks, she will be writing a blog on that will focus on her coaching career. In her latest entry, she gives suggestions on how to stay mentally fresh during the long tennis season.

By Megan Moulton-Levy

"Every story has an end, but in life, every ending is a new beginning." – Unknown

This quote could not be a better way to explain how tennis players should think of their competitive careers. There is only one winner per tournament, but what happens to the other players who do not come out on top at the end of the week? In order to become a successful player, it is important to learn how to bounce back quickly after a loss and see each week as a new beginning. Here are some tips to remain positive and mentally fresh throughout a grueling season:

- Win or lose, spend a few minutes honing your skills. As I have mentioned in a previous post, a tennis player is beholden to their habits. Your post-match routine should be consistent, whether or not the outcome of your match is a win or loss. There is something to be learned from every match. Take the time to reflect upon what you did well and not so well. With this mindset, you can detach yourself from the outcome and see all things as an opportunity for growth.

Moulton-Levy-Egypt- Leave tennis at the courts. While at the club, be fully immersed in whatever it is you need to get done, such as training, fitness, rehab, scouting, etc. After you leave the courts, make sure there is enough time for other priorities. When talking about junior players, another big obligation that has to be fulfilled is SCHOOL! It is important to devote the proper amount of time and energy to schoolwork and allow your young player to just be a kid.

- Plan one activity while you are at a tournament. Use your time away from the club to keep yourself inspired and mentally fresh by finding one thing you can do that is related to the local culture. For example, when I took a group of JTCC players to the International Grass Court Championships in Philadelphia, we made time to eat Philly cheesesteaks, and despite the rain, we ran up the famous Rocky Balboa steps. It was a moment for the players to breathe, take a step back from tennis and have fun. While I was on tour, I always made time for different experiences. I visited the pyramids in Egypt, toured the Colosseum in Rome, hugged a koala Down Under, hiked to a waterfall in Yosemite and climbed the Great Wall of China in Beijing. I remember those activities more than I remember the matches I won or lost during those weeks. I not only did those things after a loss but sometimes made time while I was still in the tournament. I would practice early in the morning and spend the rest of the day exploring what was around me.

- Surround yourself with a strong team and support system. At times, when I was playing on tour, I would be away from home for 10 weeks in a row. After about Week 5, even the best cultural experiences of the world would not reinvigorate me, which is why I needed "my people." It is no secret that tennis is sometimes a lonely sport and those you surround yourself with can either push you forward or bring you down. Just when I thought I needed a break or couldn't do it anymore, someone on my team would help me break through that imaginary brick wall. It could have been hearing a few inspiring words over the phone or seeing them in person that made a difference and helped me keep going.

There are a lot of ups and downs throughout a tennis player's career. However, by changing the way we view wins and losses, we give ourselves the chance to have more ups rather than downs. Each practice, each match, each week is a new beginning and a chance to get better.