How to Benefit from Anger in Tennis unlike Naomi Osaka

This week watching the US Open it was fine to see former world number one women’s tennis player Naomi Osaka get very angry in her match. But what frustrated me a little bit was her inability to let go of that emotion before each point, so she could play freely again by being unrestricted emotionally. The facts are that expressing anger can be beneficial if you then focus on moving on to then stay loose after it. It can be very healthy to express and feel the emotion but don’t stay in the emotion. This helps her then be fully present to play unrestricted again to be ‘in the zone’ and at her personal best. Rather than lose and look off her game as she did.

Naomi OsakA

What occurred was that when she served she did it very quickly taking only about three seconds, rather than as the commentators said, she normally takes a lot longer. She also looked tense, like she was still sitting in and feeling the emotion. While ideally it’s good to try and avoid such anger if we can, yet the fundamental is if we are noticing these feelings, rather than try and block the emotion then when appropriate and ideally in a social acceptable way, let out the emotion to really feel it and release all the associated feelings, then we can return to feel loose again by letting go of the anger to be present in the body again before playing the next point. This way we can use emotion to benefit us because by releasing these emotions we release any buildup of pressure that has occurred to then be able to play freely without baggage and be totally at our best.

The reality is that she has had some real mental health challenges which I do not pretend to understand. Yet these principles still apply to more efficiently help her achieve our personal best.


In a future blog, I will look at several different tools to integrate anger using the Emotional Fitness Toolkit. The key part is to express anger, not at anybody, but using one of the methods to use anger to grow our Emotional Fitness and resilience.

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