How to Handle Bad Line Calls

Updated: May 28, 2020

Tennis is an unusual sport because you make your own line calls. So, what should you do if your opponent starts calling balls out that are clearly in? Consider taking the 3 Step Chris Ellis Tennis Academy Approach.

On the first bad line call, let it go. Realize that people make honest mistakes. Focus on staying calm, positive, and prepare for the next point. On the second bad line call, it is more likely that the call was not an accident. Let your opponent know calmly and compassionately that this is the second ball you saw in. Then, ask him whether he was sure the ball was out? This lets you opponent know that have disagreed with two of his calls and gives him a chance to correct his mistake. If he does not correct his mistake, then focus on staying calm, positive, and prepare for the next point. If any negative energy arises, transmute it into determination to win while staying respectful to your opponent. On the third bad line call, inform your opponent calmly and compassionately that this is the third call you saw in. If he does not correct his call, let him know calmly and compassionately that you are going to get a line judge. This solves the situation. If there is no line judge, then accept the situation as it is, keep your attention on staying calm/positive, and aim three feet inside the lines.

As you can see, the two keys are staying calm and compassionate. Staying calm will keep you in a good state of mind enabling you to stay focused on what you need to do to be successful in your match.

Staying compassionate is also very important. Realize that bad calls are a result of a fear-based mindset. A fear-based mindset is never fun. Thus, do not increase your opponents misery by being mean. Be an example of light. Be especially kind. Make especially fair line calls. By being an example, you are giving your opponent the opportunity to change. Do not cheat your opponent back. When you cheat your opponent back, you are copying his fear-based mindset and will experience all the negative side effects that come with that. Moreover, your opponent will tell others you cheated him and your reputation will be harmed. Lastly, your opponent will most likely cheat you back. Then, the match turns into a cheat fest which is no fun for anyone. Remember these two equations: (1) Darkness + Light = Light. (2) Darkness + Darkness = Darkness.

In conclusion, employ the Chris Ellis Tennis Academy Approach to handling bad line calls. On the first call, let it go. One the second call, calmly and compassionately inform your opponent that this is the second ball you saw in and give him a chance to correct his own mistake. On the third call, calmly and compassionately get a line judge or accept the situation and be a source of light.

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