View Full Version : getting mentally prepared
03-28-2004, 06:33 PM
What do you guys do to get mentally prepared? During school matches I choke sooo much its not even funny. I get so nervous that I'm not concentrating enough on hitting the ball. During times, I would take a full swing and miss the ball entirely and look like an idiot. I just cant seem to do whats right....Like during doubles....I'll think about hitting the ball crosscourt....and then hesitate...and then end up hitting a soft shot at the net guy while he blasts it away. I try to tell myself thats its just a game....and to concentrate, but I just cant when my coach is watching me and while a bunch of other people counting on me to win.
03-28-2004, 06:54 PM
I tell myself that everyone makes these mistakes and then try to laugh it off. This is probably redundant but block out all of those people. Tell yourself they aren't watching you, they are watching the players on the court next to you. Don't overthink things. Kind of go with the flow. Instead of asking yourself where you are going to hit the next ball, tell yourself where to hit it. Adding more cliche's... just remind yourself you're there to have fun and be confident in yourself.
03-28-2004, 07:18 PM
In five years, nobody is going to care whether you won or lost any given match, including you. It is a game, have fun. It is difficult to find ways to win when the pressure is on, and it takes practice. Every pressure situation that you navigate through makes it a little bit easier. It is a process. Let it happen. :-) And I wasn't the biggest fan of "The Inner Game of Tennis", but I think you should read it if you haven't already.
03-28-2004, 08:39 PM
When you swing and miss there is a disconnect with your vision. There are two vision elements that a tennis player uses. One is focal vision and the other is peripheral vision.
Peripheral vision is the form of vision that we commonly use to navigate our environment. Our brains process this form of vision very poorly.
Focal vision, on the other hand, is processed very accurately. This form of vision is easily disrupted by distractions, or even internal feelings. For example, when you are nervous, you may have a tendency to shift from focal to peripheral vision. If this happens during a point, you will likely hit the ball off center, giving your opponent an immediate advantage and losing confidence in your own play.
To improve your ability to watch the ball, you must practice engaging your focal vision in the presence of distractions. While practicing on the court, a helpful exercise is to see where the ball bounces, how it spins after the bounce, and when it reaches its maximum height after the bounce. Or you can use what I and many other advanced players use and that is to say to yourself HIT BOUNCE HIT. You should also look at the point on the ball where you are planning to hit it.
Use your coach and other outside elements as a challenge to focus on the ball.
Something that worked for me this weekend - ask yourself - is there anywhere else you'd rather be ? Isn't this match what you've been looking forward to ? Why not enjoy the chance you have to play it ?
This occurred to me as I started the semi-final match of the indoor season masters. I wasn't expected to get that far and the woman I was playing I'd never played before, but she's ranked well over me. You can imagine that I was a little nervous. I didn't win - but it really helped me to relax and play my best. I did get the first set off of her in a tie break and I'm pretty happy about that !
03-29-2004, 06:38 AM
I agree with Cypo, I always try to consciously not let matches stress me out, after all, we play tennis because we like it, not because we have to. It really makes a difference for me.
03-29-2004, 09:19 AM
I don't do anything special, I've played for so many years. There are little routines I do, such as wrapping one of my racquets with a fresh overwrap. Concentrating on the process of playing and not the possible outcomes of a match is best. I tune out anything off-court and watch the quirks and mannerisms of my opponent. This can be most amusing sometimes and it lightens me up. Just remember, it's only tennis, no biggie. Good luck.
03-29-2004, 09:32 AM
Seems to me you're too intent on not letting your coach down and the bunch of people that are counting on you to win. Brush them off your shoulders. Or are you playing for them and not yourself?? Hence the worrying about meeting their expectations / not letting them down?
Mate, you should be playing for yourself. Realise this and you won't be worrying about letting your possee down, which is distracting you from your game. Good luck!
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