Mental Toughness for Tennis

It can be lonely out there on the tennis court. As a singles player, with no one but your own thoughts as team members, it can be tough to remain mentally strong. As physical a game as tennis is, it’s also completely a mental game. Here’s how you can improve your mental toughness, in order to complement your physical game.

Visualise a plan
Before setting foot on the court, practice visualising your plan. You can then take this to the next level – point by point. Before beginning each point, visualise your game plan and prepare for tribulations that may occur. Set out to execute this visualisation and incentivise your game plan with a reward like watching your favourite show after or a massage. This reinforces positive thinking and visualisation.

Practice the physical and the mental just about the same amount. These two aspects work hand in hand. You need to master your craft in order to gain confidence and to practice mental toughness consistently. So keep at it – because perseverance is key.

 

You are strong – envision it
If you picture yourself with a strong image, you will subconsciously get your body to live up to that. Confidence breeds more confidence and in turn, boosts your mental toughness. Remember your last good shot and try to harness how good it felt. Keep that feeling with you throughout the game.

 

Embrace a ritual
Having a consistent routine before each match, and before each point is important. Just look at Nadal. He always zooms to the back of the court prior to starting each match. Before each point it’s the same ritual, bounce ball, fix headband, fix wedgie, fix shirt…go. Yes it may take time, but his ritual has helped him become one of the greatest players of all time. Your ritual could be bouncing left and right 3 times before each point to clear your head for the next shot. It could be anything that works for you.

 

Keep your mind…and eyes only within the bounds of the court
There will always be distractions. Spectators clapping and shouting. Birds flying. Distant noises. But, it’s important to focus on keeping your eyes and attention solely inside that tennis court to improve your mental game. Ignore everything else. There will be time for niceties when the match is over.

 

Breathe
This one seems simple – but we so often forget to take deep breaths, especially under pressure. A simple thing you can do to improve your mental toughness is to practice meditation and breathing at night so you can implement between each point on the court. Try a great app called Calm to guide you through techniques.

 

Learn to just have fun
Most things in life and not all that serious that they can’t be recovered from. This includes a bad point or tennis match. While it is of course important to focus and train hard, make sure you remember why you’re playing the sport – to have fun. Then focus on enjoying the game. Laugh off the bad and smile at the good.

 

Mental toughness is an art – one that consistently needs to be worked at. At Sports24seven, we believe that if you surround yourself with supportive people, a good attitude and pair this with a great sports partner you’ll do great.

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