Coaching Tip - February 2011

    Self-Confidence is the key to improving your Tennis game - Believe in Yourself

    The greatest weapon you can take onto the court is confidence.
    This self-confidence is something that comes from your expectations of success and failure and is developed as a result of your achievements and being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses.

    Just a reminder that the preparation for any match or tournament should start months or weeks before the event but the suggested pre-match routine may be of some benefit.

    Confidence is about knowing that you can keep the ball in play consistently time after time and can be built by using a good conditioning process involving practice and self-belief.

    You will need to practice to develop confidence in your own strokes so that you can build positive habits of thought in your mind and your actions.
  • Believe in your shots
  • Know that you can hit them consistently

  • A self confident person is a believer.
  • Positive about him/herself
  • But also realistic

  • Players should work on their confidence in the same way as they practice technique, tactics, fitness and the important in-match routines.

    Try out some of these tips to boost your self-confidence:

  • Set realistic and achievable performance goals before the match.
    Do not set a goal like " I will win 6/0 6/0" in this match. Try instead to set a goal such as "to get 60% of first serves into play".

  • The use of positive self-talk can help to keep your thoughts positive.
    "Great shot" after a hitting an important winning shot will help keep this positive outlook and give you the confidence to go for the shot again when appropriate.

  • Regular fitness routines are important to develop your physical fitness ready for a possible long tennis match.

  • Maintain a confident body language at training and during matches.
    Keep your emotions in check; negative body language and verbal outbursts can be a boost to your opponents.

  • Have a pride in your ability and how hard you have trained.
    Try not to think that you are not ready for the match at hand.

  • Players should use the lessons learnt and take inspiration from your role model(s).
    This can be of benefit as you are playing for your someone other than your self.

  • Act or react decisively when hitting the tennis ball during a rally and learn to trust your instincts.

  • Try not to think about making mistakes.
    Don't dwell on the last error but try to focus on the next point.

  • Remaining positive is often difficult as players are influenced by the many negative factors that they encounter during a match.

    Your self-confidence can be affected by the following negatives:
  • Frequent mistakes or too many errors during a match
  • Missing the easy balls or put aways
  • Frequent double faults or at crucial times when under pressure
  • Losing to players rated below you or to players you would expect to beat

  • During a match you should try to evaluate these instances in a positive and constructive way so that your self-confidence is not dented or deflated.

    I hope that the hints above will be of some benefit and help you develop your own self belief.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime

    Contact me by email if you have any comments or helpful hints to build or retain your self-confidence.
    Let me know the things that work for you.

    Steve James
    HEAD coach