- Playing in the now is maybe the most important skill in tennis. Everything in your training and preparation should focus on developing this skill and not thinking about past mistakes or future success. Think of what you can do to really play in the present, in the now (breathing, … ).
Create your own concentration exercises
- You can focus your attention on a tennis ball you placed in front of you and just let your thoughts coming and going. You can repeat a positive word or sentence. Focus on your breathing, feeling your body, the air in your nose … etc. You have many ways to focus your mind and take time to improve your concentration. Create your own exercise!
- In a comfortable position, close your eyes and relax. Start to focus on what you hear then pay attention to what you feel, your sensations. Then turn your attention to your thoughts and emotions. Finally, when you open your eyes, focus on an object in front of you.
- You can use visualization both on and off the court. You have your very personal way to visualize. You can visualize yourself executing a stroke, your best sequence on the court, or just being confident. To improve your confidence, you should direct your visualization on specific situations like playing well and overcoming stress, performing your pre-match routine … etc.
- Visualise your future as you want it to be. Imagine what it would be like to win the Australian Open. How would you feel? Try to really feel it, in your body. Try to feel what it is to be a champion, a winner. Be familiar with this sensations and feelings. Make them yours.
- Monitor your daily stress level so you will prevent overtraining and burnout.
- You can use the video to analyze your mental skills. Take time to review a video of one of your match and take notes of your body language, then discuss with your coach or your mental trainer to find ways to improve your behavior and confidence.
- Write down your routines. But not only your routines when you win easy, also your routines after a bad mistake, a bad call …etc. Then discuss with your coach to find solutions and new routines what fit your game and your style, especially under pressure and stress.
Here are some other topics that relate to mental skills: