If you’ve got the physical skills and abilities of a world-famous tennis player, but don’t have a grip on your mental state on the court, you’re at risk of losing the match. That’s because tennis is as much a physical sport as it’s mental.
Keeping your cool, staying confident, and playing your best are the main contributors to a more positive mentality throughout the whole match…and to get that win you’ve worked so hard for.
You’ve probably read or heard all types of voodoo-like or unrealistic tips and tricks to help you, but in reality, staying mentally balanced during a match requires a few techniques.
This article will contain the ones that should always be at the top of your head so you know how to win a tennis match mentally.
This is a technique that uses all five of your senses to prepare you mentally before a match. It’s used by many of the top athletes in the tennis sport, including Siberian player Novak Djokovic, who’s ranked world no. 1 in men’s singles by the ATP.
He stated in his book that visualization and mindfulness have helped him process his emotions and keep them in check.
How Does it Work?
Prior to the match, take a few minutes to yourself and allow your brain to visualize events and situations that could take place in the match. Visualize yourself playing at the best of your ability and that you’ll be sending the best serves and returning them expertly.
Winning the match is also a very powerful visualization that usually leaves players feeling motivated and calm, knowing that they have it in the bag.
Use Your Senses
This is critical for the effectiveness of the visualization technique, as simply imagining won’t suffice. You have to use your different senses to reach a more realistic in-the-court experience.
Using your sense of touch, you can visualize how the racquet feels within your hands and the force that you’d use to toss the ball over the net. You could use your sense of hearing to recreate the audience’s cheers as you score a point.
This will put you in a better and calm mental state, which is considered a fresh start to a heated tennis match.
2. Give Yourself a Confidence Boost ?
Telling yourself that you have the skills and believing that you’ve practiced long and hard enough to win is the main key to put yourself in the right mental state. Tooting your own horn, in this case, can be extremely advantageous.
If you’re truly self-confident, this will reflect on your moves and the way you act within the court. Nothing will be able to disrupt that confidence, whether it be a lost point or a bad call made by the referee.
This confidence can be enough to provoke your opponent, as they can see that nothing phases you and that you’re fully in control of your emotions.
Feeling confident you understand the rules of play helps you walk into the game with some swagger. Check out our Rules Series of articles:
3. Play the Match as Individual Points
This means that you shouldn’t focus on previous mistakes or lost points and thinking of what you could’ve done better. You should play your best for each point, making sure not to repeat mistakes, but also not over-analyzing the previous.
This also includes that you don’t focus on the outcome of the match during points. This is because if you’re winning, you may feel extra pressure to change how you’re playing to avoid mistakes when actually playing the way you’ve been is what got you there in the first place.
If you feel like you’ve lost your focus, you should have a refocusing routine like focusing on your breathing, thinking about technical aspects or positive thoughts. This routine will depend on what you normally do when you’re playing your best.
This technique is used by top-ranking tennis players, who were found to have many tactics that people found weird, but nonetheless worked in their favor.
4. Control Your Body Language
Your opponent should never feel like you’re frustrated or disappointed in yourself for missing a shot. This can be seen through the way you carry yourself and the way you play, which will only fuel them more to defeat you.
Demonstrating confidence and proper posture shows your competition that you’re tough and that you know what you’re doing even if you’re not in the best conditions, physically or mentally, can be enough to intimidate them.
Work Hard, Play Hard
As a tennis player, you should know it’s no easy feat practicing every day and night to enhance your skills and feel like you’re good enough to participate in tournaments or championships.
This should be a highly motivating reason for you to ensure you have a positive mentality and that regardless of what the outcome of the match is, you’re doing what you love and that you love what you’re doing. Eventually, it’ll reflect on the way you play.