With our Mcc Singles Championship just around the corner on September 15-16, I’m in the tournament mood! Tournaments give players a chance to play against new players and against players of vastly different skill levels in a pressure-filled situation. As a junior, my first coach made me enter my first non-sanctioned tournament 2 days after I first picked up a racket. I played my first sanctioned (USTA) tournament four weeks later. I played the #1 seed in two different age divisions and in four sets of tennis in one afternoon won 1 game on a net cord winner! I loved every minute of it, and totally expected to win. Why didn’t I just give up? Two reasons: all the pressure was on him and I got to play someone who would never have stooped to play a set with me on any other occasion except for in a tournament where you have to play whoever you draw. We all know that playing better players is the best way to improve your game. The only time better players will play you without begrudging the experience is in a tournament. I highly recommend for those who want to get better at handling pressure (no substitute for the butterflies you’ll feel when you check in at the tournament desk before a match), to play as many tournaments as you can handle. The matches tire you out more because of the adrenaline. The opponents look larger because of the moment. When you go to play regular recreational tennis, it’ll be a walk on the court.