The Mental Game of Tennis
At the highest level the game of tennis is a battle of overcoming adversity. The highly competitive nature of tennis is obvious, but it is not all the physical game. In fact the more advanced the player the greater the impact from the mental aspect. At this level the mental game of tennis is 90% of the game.
Mental toughness is a phrase that comes to mind when dealing with any highly competitive sport. With tennis it is the key. We have all seen the player who is incredibly talented, with the best serve or stroke, be annihilated by the player with the better mental focus and ability to stay on task. Professional players have their own sports hypnotist/sports psychologist who specializes in training the player to excel at the mental aspect of the game.
Don’t have your own mind coach yet? The following are some techniques you can use to improve your game:
- Find a way to improve your focus. Use meditation or self hypnosis to be able to put yourself in” the zone”.
- Use a trigger. Things like walking onto the court. Holding or tossing the tennis ball before the serve. Checking your racket strings. These are all ways to trigger getting into “the zone”.
- Mentally rehearse shots while in a relaxed state.
- Get rid of fear. Find a way to stay focused and let fear move into the background. Focus on the desired result, your positive vision of the game.
But the best technique of all is to connect to the fun of playing the game. Remember why you wanted to play tennis in the first place. This more than anything will help you to move past fear and enjoy the game the way you did when you began playing. Remember, once you know the strokes, stance and strategy, it’s all about tweaking your mind to access your full potential and to play your best mental game.