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JustBeginning
02-13-2009, 12:09 PM
Just like the title says I've got some anxiety issues before a match. I do fine when Im just rallying with my friends but when we actually started the latter matches to decide whose on Varsity and JV I cracked. I lost horribly in a 10point tie breaker against a guy who I had rallied with and could keep up with before. Any advice? We're continuing the latter matches this week again if it doesn't rain so any help would be seriously appreciated.

LeeD
02-13-2009, 12:21 PM
Pressure, anxiety, the stomach chills, just means you think the upcoming match is important to you. Call it butterflies.
Every competitior in any sport gets them. If you don't get the butterflies, you will perform badly.

drake
02-13-2009, 01:03 PM
Even a 13 time Grand Slam champion gets the jitters.

JustBeginning
02-14-2009, 04:28 PM
But is there anything that I can do before a match to help lessen the anxiety? It gets me all tense and causes me to miss alot of the balls I could've slaughtered

BullDogTennis
02-14-2009, 05:08 PM
Pressure, anxiety, the stomach chills, just means you think the upcoming match is important to you. Call it butterflies.
Every competitior in any sport gets them. If you don't get the butterflies, you will perform badly.

thats a false statement. i had the best game of my life in football this year, no jitters before that game at all! and i dont really get jitters before tennis either...

mikeler
02-14-2009, 05:37 PM
In my experience, it just took tons of match play. I used to get nervous in high school playing tournaments and would just stink up the court. Eventually, I played so many tournaments, it started to become routine. Just play as many matches as you can. Good luck.

JustBeginning
02-14-2009, 08:21 PM
Ah well. I guess I should just be happy I made it my freshman year considering I've only been playing for a little less than a year now. Maybe this year will just get me prepped for next year so I'll get a chance at varsity when Im a sophomore.

maverick66
02-14-2009, 08:36 PM
start a ritual. get a good prematch ritual going that and focus on it. do a certain warmup with music or regrip rackets. anything to make the time pass.

in randy couture's book he talked about prefight nerves and convinced himself that he wasnt getting nervous but instead he was excited to go compete. if you can convince yourself that these feelings are a positive feeling instead of starting to think its a negative one you can actually start using this energy in a positive way.

Steady Eddy
02-14-2009, 09:36 PM
Start drinking heavily in the morning. By match time you should be sufficiently loose so that nerves will not disrupt your game.

blue12
02-14-2009, 09:50 PM
Move your feet, take deep breaths, and watch the ball.
Also focussing on a game plan and on each point helps!!
Don't think about winning, think about constructing good points and eventually you'll just get in a rythm.

anchorage
02-15-2009, 12:55 AM
I can relate to this with golf as I once played at a reaonable level. So, before a big event, I've certainly experienced not being able to feel my legs as I walk to the first tee and struggling to even tee the ball up properly due to a slight tremor in the hands (that's tension, anxiety!).

Now, in a sense, none of that matters as you've not actually done anything in the match yet (there's no penalty for taking four attempts to tee a ball up). The next sequence does matter, though.

You learn to deal with that in various ways, but you must work on them. Recognise that these things are really mental. Anxiety is tension in the mind. You have to stop that from being translated into tension in the physical activity.

Obviously, experience helps. If you've been in pressure situations and flourished more often than not, then you've gone a long way to mastering tension; that tension (adrenelin pumper) then actually becomes your ally.

In the golf example I gave above, you have to focus on controlling the things which you can control. You must get into a routine that is familiar to you. Luckily, golf is all about routines. Performing these takes you into some sort of zone and gets you focusing on the task in hand. That's probably the key. Block everything else out. Beyond that, you really have your muscle memory and technique to fall back on. But, don't underestimate that. Your ingrained muscle memory will deliver more often than not, so trust it. (Anxiety and tension can make you try to do things differently, thus negating muscle menory.)

I've never been that anxious / tense on a tennis court. However, I see no reason why the same techniques shouldn't work. Breathing patterns help control body tension. On the parts which you control, make sure you control them. Most obvious example is the serve (see how the pros have their pre-shot routines, bouncing the ball, etc). Don't let yourself be rushed. Equally, don't play artificially slowly. Work out you normal rhythm and stick to it. That's what your body wants. Give it what it wants whenever you can.

Finally, don't forget the other part of the equation; your opponent. He's probably feeling the same way you are. Like in matchplay golf, try not to show any fear to your opponent! Your legs might be jelly but the chances are, he's not looking at your legs. So, use positive body language - it really works.