Tennis is just just as much as mental attitude than skill and technique. And at the professional level the deciding factor of who wins or loses is normally decided by the mental battle.
Therefore you need to concentrate on developing your mental skills just as much as your technical ones. If you view mental training the same as tactical or fitness you will tend to devote more time to it.
All mental skills such as confidence, emotion, concentration can all be developed with training. In this blog we look at some training activities that you can implement in your routine.
Before A Match
A pre-game routine can be very helpful, it will assist you in building familiarity and thus aid in confidence. Your routine should incorporate your kit, sleep patterns, food and liquids.
Think about your upcoming game the evening prior, try to visualise how the game is going to pan out.
Have a plan written down for the day of the game, this will help you to prepare better, this should include mental as well as physical warm up’s.
After A Game
Again you really need a post-game routine. This will aid in the recovery of the muscles and the brain. Do not try this till at least one hour after playing as you will still be in an emotional state of mind.
Review the game just played, and compare the actual play to the goals you set before. Try to focus on the performance and not the result, and be objective and positive. Keep a log of these debriefs and compare them to see improvements.
Goals & Motivation
You should always set goals for training and match play. These goals should be realistic but challenging and include mental objectives. A good way of keeping track is to have a goals log, and compare it to after your session. You can use this log to keep a daily account of your training, match, mental & physical condition and anything else that may help.
Your emotions are particularly important to keep under control. There are several things you can do to aid your emotions to be stable and controllable.
Trying meditation, yoga, breathing control, muscle relaxation, all these disciplines will keep your emotions under control.
Predict before a match what really stresses you out, line calls, rain delays etc. And work on remedies that will help you overcome these problem areas.
Incorporate all or some of these elements into your weekly training. Pick out the ones that really help you and discard the ones that are either too hard to do or have little effect.
Take time out to chat about mental training with your tennis coach, then in your practise games bring different disciplines into your match play. You will be amazed how your game improves with a strong mind and that your play will seem much more free.