It is a well known fact in tennis that both the physical and mental side of the game are just as important as each other.
Your tennis coach at your local club can easily teach you how to play the game technically, but the mental side of the game is a little more difficult to grasp. But just like developing your shots the mental side of your game improves with repetition. During the frantic situation of match-play, you must react instantly in your mind to a situation.
The Five Mental Concepts
There are five concepts that you must develop to make you a stronger player, and they are:
- To control your emotions
- The mentality to hit winners
- Having the confidence to go for your shots
- Monitoring of yourself
To Control Your Emotions
Controlling your emotions is not as easy as it first sounds. If you allow your emotions to influence your thought patterns then your grasp of reality will be distorted.
When your emotions take over then your play is dominated about your mistakes, instead of drawing a line under them. Failures seem to pile up one after another and every line call seems to be against you.
If this happens you need to take time out to get your mind back in focus. Forget the last error and play the next shot with a clear mind.
The Mentality To Hit Winners
Every tennis player bows to the temptation of going for the big winner. This feeling normally is encouraged by watching the pro’s playing, but you have to understand they have a lot more shots in their locker than the average player.
But the danger is overlooking the constant percentage play that the pro’s play most of the game with. Only the spectacular remains in the brain. Only feel comfortable to go for the big shots once you have mastered the percentage game first.
Having The Confidence To Go For Your Shots
Getting to a level where you a fully confident in all your shots, and you do not play with too much cautiousness will take some time. The biggest problem to overcome is fear of not delivering, and the nagging feeling of self-doubt. If you can get to a level of no fear of failure then this will lead to the mental freedom that will allow you to play naturally.
If you persist in analysing yourself you will never progress, if you over-think every shot and tactic then you will never play naturally. You do need to monitor your play but this is far apart from over analysing. If you practise relentlessly so that every shot is natural and with instinct, then this is the perfect stage to be at.
You should always monitor yourself to the point that it becomes natural and not a task. Just like a computer onboard a car, your brain should be checking: your emotions, strategy, technique, tactics. All this should be done subconsciously so you do not get bogged down over-thinking.
Getting to grips with these five concepts will certainly take you time and will not happen all at once, however if you do your game will rise to another level.