Coaching Tip - February 2014

    Boost your Mind
    To win more tennis matches

    Tennis is a largely physical and mental game.
    Your success in winning matches will come as a result of your ability to stay in the game especially in your head.
    There is nothing like playing poorly to cause you to get frustrated, angry and ready to quit tennis.
    During these times it is important to stay calm, focus on the game at hand and harness your mind so that your mind is working with your body to achieve the best results.

    The keys to help you gain the edge over your opponent(s) are
    Establish a routine
    Routines are a very important part of playing tennis

    • In the warm up keep the ball in play to get the feel of racquet on ball and to establish a hitting rhythm prior to the match
    • Maintain this during the match
    • focus on the ball during the rally to exclude outside influences
    • take your time between points
    • use the change of ends break wisely to rehydrate and refocus
    • use mental key words such as spin to keep you focussed on hitting your groundstrokes or serve with spin (topspin)

    Manage your feelings
    During a tennis match or intense training session it can be difficult to suppress your anger.
    Anger can come as a result of

    • a bad line call or perceived bad line
    • a missed shot
    • being outplayed during a rally - This can become more intense during a match

    The anger emotion is a natural reaction to a poor performance but it needs to be dealt with and controlled before it has a detrimental effect on your tennis game.
    You can learn to control and release this anger

    • take time between points to get your breathing under control

    Deep breathes while trying to think of a pleasant experience away from tennis will help you clear your match thoughts and to refocus

    • harness your feelings so that you can use this aggression as a positive in your game
    • use the change of ends to reset your mind, forget about previous points and get your game back on track
    • try not to worry about the things beyond your control for example the wind, sun or heat

    Harness your feelings before your emotions get out of control and you lose the plot and the match

    Selective Amnesia - Forget about It
    There are some things during a match that you need to forget about.
    This selective amnesia is a very important way to boost your game thereby enabling you to win more matches.
    During a match you will have many different parts of the game replaying in your mind.
    The replay of a critical double fault is one aspect that will have a negative and detrimental effect on your game.

    Don’t keep thinking about this double fault or lost point.
    Go back to your routine so that you can refocus and get ready for the next point.
    Your focus should concentrate on the positives of each game

    • think about what you did right and the processes that lead to that positive action
    • if you can recreate this process then more positives will be evident in your next game
    • resulting in better match play

    Your mental game can improve

    • by thinking about the positives aspects of your game
    • forgetting about the rest
    • learning from your mistakes
    • forget about the things beyond your control


    These mental skills can be learned and/or improved by practicing the routine and the other hints as outlined above during your training sessions and competitive matches.
    I hope that these skills will become a part of your tennis game and help you to win more matches thereby allowing you to take your game to the next level.
    Try not to confuse yourself by thinking too much.
    Keep it Simple.
    Relax and let it happen

    Let me know if you can think of any other options to help you achieve a more consistent and effective physical and mental game.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime

    Contact me by Email if you have any comments or helpful Tennis hints.
    Let me know the things that work for you.

    Coach Steve