Summer is here and some of us take the time to sharpen our game and others take breaks from it. Whichever you choose there is always time to work on the mind game. I get many questions on this topic and I gathered some tips for you to practice during this break. Please let me know if this helps you in any way.
In sports psychology, it is known that many games are lost before they have started. If before entering the court you are convinced that you are going to miss the shots or that your opponent is a better player, your subconscious will support your beliefs and do everything possible to make them come true, this is what is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A bad predisposition can cause a mental block and make you lose the tournament. Through mental tennis training, you will be able to stop those thoughts that make you lose, letting in the dialogues that reinforce your strengths.
Make Small Goals
In your sports training, it is advisable to visualize simple goals, once you meet them during the tennis match, those which you have been preparing will seem closer to you.
For example, winning a series of three (3) consecutive points. In this way, the concentration will be throughout the game, and not only when we get closer to our goal. This is like creating a mental map of the match and we will achieve this through daily tennis mental training.
There are plenty of players who perform routines with seemingly no relationship to their chances of winning a tennis match. Sports psychology shows that this is highly effective.
Some order their water bottles in a certain way or kiss a pendant. Rafa Nadal, for example, tugs at the back of his pants and other players don’t step on the lines etc. Behind these routines, there is mental tennis training that helps the player to gain self-confidence.
If when you perform some type of ritual you get a result, by repeating it, your mind will believe that the chances of achieving it increase. This is known from sports education.
One of the fundamental points in tennis mental training is breathing. If it is agitated, it can cause us anxiety and even high cortisol levels. On the contrary, if we are stressed and we slow down our breathing, we can help ourselves to enter a more relaxed state.
There is a simple game that combines mental gymnastics with physical training so that you know and control your breathing. When you are training, incorporate a whistle in your mouth, you will have to inhale through your nose and when you hit the ball, exhale through your mouth. This way you will realize how you breathe during a game or training, and what are the moments that cause you the most nervousness and force with which you hit the ball.
During the game, play tennis!
It may seem obvious, but many times players forget that this is the moment when they should only concentrate on playing. Do not look at the scoreboard, do not think about the ranking or visualize your defeat, and avoid any mental burden.
Learn during your mental training to analyze the match only during breaks. The rest of the time focus on winning each point without thinking about the final tennis ranking.
It may seem like too simple of mental training for tennis, and for this very reason, it is often given little importance despite its high effectiveness.
During the game, every time you score a point you should congratulate yourself through the so-called mental strength phrases or acknowledge that your sacrifices are paying off. This award will make your behavior repeat itself.
Jump Out of The Match
When we are losing a tennis match, an enormous mental load appears on us. We focus so much on our mistakes that we lose concentration and are unable to return to the match with a positive attitude.
For this reason, if despite carrying out intense mental tennis training, in that match we are unable to stop harmful thoughts, we have to leave the match (mentally) during the breaks.
One way is to imagine what you will do at the end of the game or any other idea that can get you out of there. Thus, you will watch the game from another perspective, managing to reduce your nerves.
Try these tips and get ahead of other players. Hit them hard!
Assistant Tennis Professional