Apr 30, 2010

Mental Tennis

Do you ever lose to lesser players in tournaments?

Do your confidence, consistency or concentration disappear during matches?

Do you play great in practice, but play badly against highly seeded players?

Or are you just looking to improve and move to the next level?

No problem! Most players experience all of these things - and the good news is they are all easily taken care of by mental training.

Mental toughness is one of the main weapons behind the success of champions such as Federer and Nadal - and remember that Federer was once a young kid who had very bad temper.

The main reason why mental training works in tennis is because your mind controls your body - not the other way around, and so most problems in tennis are simply due to the mind being untrained to perform correctly.

Self-sabotage is a common problem, as the pressure of competition often brings out problems which often do not exist in practice.

Your mind either works for you, or against you, just depending upon how you've "programmed" it to perform.

Any player can dramatically improve their tournament results through using mental training.

Consistency, belief and confidence are all best achieved through a regular mental training program, which only takes about 10 minutes. Here are some of the benefits of mental training:

Do you experience any of these?
Extreme nerves during matches / lack of belief in yourself
Playing great in practice, but lousy in tournament matches or competition
Practicing hard but getting no payback
Injuries or illnesses occurring just before tournament matches
Anger problems, racquet smashing, tanking matches etc.
Slumps in form
Regularly recurring problems on the court
Concentration and technical problems
Doubts, fears, worries and anxiety, worrying about what others think
Inconsistency in matches
Overly worrying about the "uncontrollables" such as which opponent you will be drawn to play.

Classic Signs Of Mental Strength
Improving your results without practicing any harder
Overcoming extreme nervousness
A deep inner belief in yourself and your abilities
Less anger and more controlled approach on the court
Not worrying about future opponents as much
Longer and more focused concentration
Playing in the zone - on cruise control
A calm, clear and focused mind
Consistent performances in competitions
Vibrant health during tournaments, overcoming injuries quicker, and a positive outlook on life
Sleeping well the night before a big match

Why does Roger Federer win when he rarely leads the stats in aces etc?
Mental toughness is the only answer. Until 2002, Federer lost a lot of matches to lesser players but then Roger made the decision that he needed to be mentally tougher in his matches and hang in there longer, which made all the difference.

Nadal has won his grand slams from sheer dogged determination and mental strength, mixed with his fabulous relentless groundstrokes, and won against Federer when no-one else could - by simply refusing to mental fold the way most players have done when they walked on court against Federer between 2002 till 2008.

And now other players such as Djokovic and Murray are taking his lead, and have developed the inner belief to move into the upper echelons as well.

Mental strength is the main edge these players have over the others, even though they do not always rate in the yearly stats where other players may serve more aces, hit more winners etc.

It's the mental strength which give Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and now Del Potro that vital 'X factor' that ensure they shake hands as the winner most of the time.