How to analyze lost matches

We practice hard. We put more on-court hours to get advantage over opponents. We spend more money to make sure that our performance goes up. Then comes the tournament. The test of our skills. And we lose the match… What should we do right now?

Sport is not always fair. Some people are more talented and they can beat athletes who work twice as hard as they do. From time to time you will also lose a match because the opponent will cheat you or will the ball will touch the net and drop on your side. But it is not always about winning. To be successful you have to improve your performance every day. Wins should give you motivation – not the comfort to stay relaxed and stop working really hard. If you want to get better you should look for opportunities to get ahead everywhere. And hardly to understand but losing is one of them…

A lot of players don’t know how to properly approach lost matches. They look at these events as failures. What they see is the score and the door closed to their dreams. That’s normal. Their perspective is built on emotions and false perception that winning is the only indicator of getting better. Now it is time to change it. Score is not important – your performance is. If you underperform – yes you can feel sad but it is not over. On the other hand if you played well but you still didn’t manage to win you can be sure that you are on the right track. Your actions are much more important than pure numbers. If you want to get to the top you should focus on your performance. The results will come for sure.

So the match is over. Your opponent leaves the court with balls in hand and smile on his face. You lost. How can you transform this negative score into positive result? You should analyze your match properly. If you do so you will see that your bad mood will not last longer than few hours. Ready to go?

  1. Goals are priorities

    As a competitive tennis player you have to set goals before your match. There is nothing worse than getting on the court unprepared. And without goals you have no weapons ready for your opponent. But I bet you set your goals so now it is time to analyze your success. Did you achieve your goals? If yes did it help you to win more points? If you didn’t achieve your goals find what were the reasons. Knowing what and why are information that you need to move forward with your game.

  1. Find positives

    Many players think that if they lost the match nothing was positive. That is not true at all. You can do a lot of things well and still lose the match but being aware of your strengths will help you build confidence and base your future game on these skills. Every time you finish the match look for positives. Did you move well? Did you finish short balls? Did you use opponent’s weaknesses to construct the point? All this data is important to build basics that you need to form your own playing style. Without being aware of your strong skills you will never establish consistent high level of performance.

  1. Look for areas to improve

    Most of the times we lose matches because our opponents are able to find and capitalize on our weaknesses. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody has weaknesses so it is crucial to be aware of them and learn from past loses. If we see that our backhand provides more errors and we lose too many points because of this stroke we have to spend more time on this skill during next practice sessions. But this conscious work is possible only if we carefully analyze our lost match. If we just move on without thinking of the reasons why opponent left the court with balls we can be sure that this scenario will repeat again and again.

  2. Start getting ready for your next battle

    The worst thing players can do after lost match is to be passive for days. I understand that the first few hours can be difficult but that is enough. After you calm down you have to realize that you can’t change the score. However what is under your control is the preparation for your next tournament which starts immediately after you lost your match. Hide your ego, roll your sleeves up and start working harder to win the next one.


Losing the match is not a negative event if you know how to approach it. Of course you want to win more matches than you lose but be humble and learn every time your opponent is better than you on a given day. Do you have any other tips you would like to share related to this topic? Go ahead and comment below.


Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium at Hilton Head Island, USA.

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