As tennis players we constantly find ourselves on the court working on our game.
My question to you would be when was the last time you worked on the mind?
My guess would be that you don’t even remember.
As coaches we take a lot of the blame because we run the lesson.
Something I’ve come to realize recently is that the mind is where it’s at…
How many times have I seen a player crush forehands in practice and then dump an easy put away into the net on game point.
I’ve seen so many times where a player comes out on the warm up and he looks unbeatable against the opponent whose strokes are far superior and yet the pusher walks away with the win.
Or what about the player who has match point and then misses a volley deep and continues to miss the next seven points to lose the match!!!
Sound familiar. LOL! I know it does for me. I’ve experienced all of the above. I put in so many hours on the tennis court practicing and then when it was game time, I would lose it.
My coach Kevin was great at teaching me how to hit a volley and how to hit a serve but there was an aspect of my game during those early years where it would have made such a difference.
Only later in my tennis life did I discover the power of the mind.
When I started coaching, actually, when I decided that coaching was going to be my career.
That moment of decision changed everything. It was the moment I started studying the mind.
I really wanted to work with the mind. It became so much fun for me. I first started with myself.
In my early 20’s to about 27 I was depressed and suicidal.
I came close to calling it quits. I had the pills in my hand. I practiced with the belt around my neck. Nothing worked. I tried Prozac only to start hiding bottles of vodka because it took a lot more for me to hide the pain.
Then, thankfully, I was introduced to Tony Robbins and went to his UPW. It changed my life. I had some new tools. Tony changed my life in a 4-day seminar. I began my path to recovery.
I am going to skip many of the next few years because I plan to write a book soon. It will tell the story of my life and how we can change and become the humans we aspire. It’s called Honesty, look out for it in 2024.
Anyways, I began to read a lot and listened to a lot of audio books and I became forever in love with working with the mind. So how does this help you as a tennis player.
Let’s work through some of the issues with each of the scenarios.
Scenario 1: “How many times have I seen a player crush forehands in practice and then dump an easy put away into the net on game point.”
What’s going on here. The player is relaxed during practice. She’s hitting forehand winners in practice and then dumps them into the net in the game. There could be many reasons so I’m going to narrow it down to just one. This player is focused on the score too much. When it comes down to match point this player gets tense and that tension creates tightness through the shot. Hanse the ball goes into the net.
The solution: this player must learn how to focus process over outcome.
Scenario 2: “I’ve seen so many times where a player comes out on the warm up and he looks unbeatable against the opponent who’s strokes are far superior and yet the pusher walks away with the win.”
What’s going on here: again I’ll focus only on one problem, which is this player is too cocky and not humble enough. He thinks he can beat anyone and knows everything. He studies the game and practices but he forgets the most essential rule of tennis. He who gets the ball in the most wins the game. This is why the pusher always beats him. Because the pusher just cares about getting the ball in. The pusher gets that one extra ball in. The cocky player hits the ball out! Game over!
The solution: The cocky player must learn how to be humble!!!
Scenario 3: “Or what about the player who has match point and then misses a volley deep and continues to miss the next seven points to lose the match!!!”
What’s going on here: This player here has the classic case of thinking too much of the past and most likely the future. She is playing an unbelievable match and got herself to the point of the win. Then at match point she begins to think about the trophy. How awesome it’s going to be to tell all her friends. The prize money. So that when that winning shot comes on her racket she dumps it into the net. After that, she loses all the rest of the points because she can’t get it out of her head that she should of won the match!
The solution: Learn to be present in every moment.
Now you have three aspects of the mental game that you could work on. Next time you go out with your coach ask him or her if you could work on process over outcome, how to be humble, and to be present in each moment.
If you’re coach is a good one, she’ll know what drills to do to improve your mental game. If not, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com and we can begin to work on getting you to become the best tennis player.
Have a wonderful day on the tennis court tomorrow,
Your coach, your cheerleader, and your friend,
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