Tennis is a mental game. As a player, you must be able to control your emotions and thoughts in order to be competitive. The mental game is using your mind to play rather than your physical body. However, in Tennis, both the physical and mental game are necessary to win any competition.
No one can be perfect with their mental game. Players can lose focus or get tense when playing. As a result, they might miss several shots. Anger is another major contributor to players’ overall success. However, they can learn techniques to minimize mental errors during their matches.
In this article, we will discuss top strategies to help you achieve the best in your mental game.
- Focus on the Current shot
For a strong mental game, a player should focus their mind on the current point. It’s the strategy of playing a shot at a time. You focus on the current point and not the previous one or the next one at hand.
To have a strong mental game, you need to shift your focus from lost points. Forget about all the errors that you have made in the game. If you keep focusing on them, you are dwelling on the past. If you have lost a point, you can’t recover it now. It’s already gone. Now it’s time to focus on winning the current shot.
The same happens with winning. Once you make a winning shot move on fast, don’t keep on celebrating. The game is not over yet. Focus on winning the next point.
If you keep focusing on the past winners or losses, you weaken your mental game. Your mind can’t concentrate on the game you are currently playing. As a result, you will lose focus and lose more points before the game ends.
- Relax Your Mind in Between the sets
A three-set tennis match can last for several hours. Your mind cannot focus entirely on more than one hour continuously. You will likely experience downtime during the game.
Therefore, in between the points, relax your mind. Focus on other matters that are not related to the game. Try to silence your mind from any fear and anxiety. If you have lost a point, this is not the time to focus on the failure. Neither is it time to focus on the win.
Relax your mind. Try to settle and relax. This doesn’t mean you find distractions like playing video games on your phone. It means focusing on recharging your mind. The goal is to save your mental concentration for the game.
- Maintain Positive Emotions Only
Frustration and negative emotions are the greatest cause of failure in the mental tennis game. A player cannot play at their best when their mental energy is divided. When frustrated on the field, your mind will focus on the frustration and not the game.
Most of the frustrations are as a result of failed expectations. Therefore, as a player, have realistic expectations. When your expectations are also not met, it’s important to accept the result and focus on the current game.
Other negative emotions that may affect your game may include;
- Emotions of failure
- Hatred towards other players, referee, coaches, or other stakeholders in the game.
To avoid errors, don’t carry your negative emotions to the court. Be positive and you’re more likely to have a better outcome
- Strategize Before Playing Your Opponent
Have a strategy for your mental game of tennis before playing. When developing your plan, avoid analyzing what you are doing right or wrong. Focus on methods that will help you win more points in your game. Before, starting any point, have a strategy of playing.
Focus on developing a strong strategy using some of the following tips.
- Focus on improving your game tactics.
- Check and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.
- Develop a strategy that will weaken your opponent’s strategy.
You should have a clear strategy before you start playing your opponent. It should be a strategy that will enable you to play your best. However, your strategy should be flexible. Adjust it during the game depending on how your opponent is reacting to your game.
Having a clear strategy helps your mental game strong and your emotions at bay. A clear plan will have you prepared for your opponent and keep you calm and in the moment during play.
- Be Confident You Can Win the Game
Confidence is a crucial factor in winning the mental game of tennis. Without strong confidence in yourself, you will lose the match. If you doubt you will win, It will be hard to win even a single point.
For many tennis players, confidence is fragile. It can change within the game. As a tennis player, you might start with high confidence. As the game continues, and lose some points, self-doubt enters your mind. At this point, you will begin losing more points.
Therefore, if you find your confidence dropping, that’s not real confidence. True confidence is stable. However, gathering strong confidence takes time. It requires dedication also.
Spend more time practicing before the actual competition. This will boost your confidence. Also, remind yourself that you have all the skills you need to win the game. Practice mental toughness before the game. Train yourself to take failure positively.
Your mental strength during a tennis game is important. It will determine your performance. Having a positive mental game in tennis will enable you to win against players you never imagined you could. However, vice versa is true. With a weak mental game of tennis, you will easily lose points. A weak player might win against you.
Therefore, if you are a player, think about your mental game. If you are a coach, teach your players to take advantage of their mental game. The mental game is what separates average players from the winning players.
To play like a pro, improve your physical game. But most importantly, work on your mental game of tennis. When the mental game is well taken care of, a player performs well in the physical game as well. Also, don’t forget about the basics like choosing the correct racquet and practicing your strokes