60% Mental, 40% Ability

Like many other sports, tennis is greatly affected by one’s mental game, and it has been a part of the game since the very beginning.

For some, the mental game is the hardest opponent to defeat. I know that I have walked off the court time and time again frustrated that I lost because I could not overcome what was going on in my mind.

So how do players deal with it? Countless books have been written, but here are a few basic tips players receive to help them be mentally ready for a match:

  • Rely on the rituals you develop in practice. For example, take a deep breath, bounce the ball twice, and then cock your racquet before serving. Do it every time that you serve. Be sure to slow down when you are feeling anxious. Most players tend to rush when they are nervous, so do the opposite.
  • Try to breath out when you hit the ball. This exhale will relax your muscles. Players often hold their breath under pressure and this will prevent that from occurring.
  • Rely on positive self-talk. Stay focused on the present-tense, with little concern over what has happened or what will happen. Instead, concentrate on what you need to do to win the very next point.
  • Avoid the tendency to focus on results, and instead concentrate on the process. Try to win the very next point. After that is done, win or lose, focus on how to win the very next point.

Do you think these techniques work to help players get over their mental road blocks?

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