Calming nerves

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by PascalMariaFan, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. PascalMariaFan

    PascalMariaFan Rookie

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    Any tips for calming nerves? I play an attacking, smooth game in practice matches. But in competition I start to push, my strokes become wooden and my follow through disappears.

    I think the reason that it's difficult for me to play aggressively is because I'm winning matches by pushing (because of the fact that I have a good serve and better court awareness than my opponents) which reinforces my pushing habit.
     
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  2. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    There was a female player who played Wimbledon in the 1930-40s and she had a 1/2 glass of sherry before her match to still her nerves. You could try that.

    Just kidding.

    Nerves are common and impact everyone including pros. The trick is playing through them.

    Get Dr Allen Fox's book Winning the Mental Match - available at TW and other places - Kindle edition available too. He talks about how to control your emotions on court including how to handle stress, nerves, and choking.

    I have not seen you play but you probably don't want to be a "pusher". Fox talks about practicing good solid technique and using it in a match. Basically, it is meat and potatoes tennis that wins most matches and not wonderful winners from all positions of the court. You want to practice 3/4 pace tennis and use it in your matches. Learn what are the good percentage shots and use them. Being intelligently aggressive while still using the percentages is good. Resulting to pushing or swinging for the fences is kind of a cop out.
     
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  3. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    I just focus on breathing during matches. During a set I don't bother trying "new" things or practicing shots etc. In a match situation muscle memory and instincts should take over. Let your body do what it knows. Don't think, just play.

    Afterwards, think and analyze. Then go hit the practice courts to work out the kinks.
     
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  4. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    you fear losing. learn how not to or fear less. and when you practice lower the pace and focus on specific skills and patterns. showtime is match play not practice. practice stepping up for match play and understand inherent risk taking involved and you win sometimes but lose as well. just work on that balance little by little to your favor.
     
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  5. PascalMariaFan

    PascalMariaFan Rookie

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    Thanks guys.

    Yeah, I think it's the fear of losing that does it for me. Tennis is the thing in life that I'm more talented than others at, so my self-worth is tied into winning.
     
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  6. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    maybe focus on developing patterns in practice that you can put in play during a match...

    example:
    * hit two cross court backhands to draw your opponent to one side and set up a forehand cross-court. (or something like that).

    if you practice some of these patterns enough you will feel confident in playing them occasionally in matches.


    * just an example to illustrate. use whatever you think works for your game.
     
    #6
  7. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Be careful of that. I don't know you, but I'm pretty sure you're more than just your tennis.
     
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