Mastering The Mental Game

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by thomas daniels, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Professional

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    I am starting a YouTube Channel for it, to be first. Better copyright that shiz quick or imma steal it an make it rain.
     
    #51
  2. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    Too late i have a TM and a (R). And Leed said so!!
     
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  3. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    It's similar to meditation: you're not supposed to think of anything. But try not thinking of anything for more than, oh, say, 1/2 second. So beginners get frustrated and try even harder not to think about something. Which just makes things worse.

    The way you're supposed to approach it is accept the fact that you will have thoughts but just don't cling to them; let them go.
     
    #53
  4. AllCourtHeathen

    AllCourtHeathen Semi-Pro

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    Good post. I do need to improve my fitness and footwork, but they are lower case issues, what you've posted above is my major obstacle at the moment. When I'm in the zone, my serve starts working and I move and hit freely. The moment this inward spiral of thoughts begins, I get angrier and angrier and my game falls apart.
     
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  5. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    +1
    for me, because it's impossible to "not think of anything", i need to regularly fill my mind with positive things, or things that I can control (ie. focusing on the moment, on things i can control, prevents negative/future thinking thoughts from entering)
    which is also why having a routine(s) are critical for me.
    it's an attempt to use a physical trigger to reset my mental focus.
     
    #55
  6. SinjinCooper

    SinjinCooper Hall of Fame

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    As with most issues of mind/matter in human endeavor, cause-effect isn't always a one way door.

    Per NLP, people have a tendency to look up and left when they're making up a visual image they haven't actually experienced. Imagining an image or scene CAUSES the eyes to drift up that way. But the flip side is that if you WANT to imagine with greater visual clarity, you can look up and to the left first, and the results will tend to flow much more easily.

    Tennis-wise, people spend a lifetime trying to find that zone that allows them to play with subconsciously perfect footwork and ease of movement. I blame Timothy Gallwey. The discovery by psychologists that cause-effect is a two way door has caused a lot more problems than it has cured. When it comes to the mind-body connection, it SOUNDS a lot friendlier to skip the somatic beatings and go straight for the esoteric luxury of the mind. You get to skip all that unsightly and difficult building up of sweat equity that way. But in practice, *successful* mental training is often far more grueling and time-consuming than its meat counterpart. The far more efficient method of entwining those three things -- fitness, footwork, and "the zone of effortlessness" -- is to work on the first two. Then, that "zone" comes more and more frequently and easily, like magic. It's why there are successful academies dedicated to training the physical process that are churning out pros, while the process that begins with the mind is a lot more likely to appeal to the couch-bound housewife and hit the top of the bestseller lists.

    Most magic comes a lot easier if you put in the work, first.

    You want a bullet-proof on-court mind? Treadmill and Spanish X drills to you puke. When it's easy to get to every ball, most of your doubts evaporate. "Mastering the mental game," is by and large snake oil.
     
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  7. AllCourtHeathen

    AllCourtHeathen Semi-Pro

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    Snake oil. So the whole field of sports psychology is all a crock of chit, and the cure for all mental blocks on court is just to get more fit. Ok. Not sure how many atp pros would agree with that, but if that works for you then more power to you.

    Personally, now that i am being analytical while playing, i am noticing that playing at night under lights, where the lighting is harsh, affects my ability to see/read the incoming ball as early as i prefer, which puts my preparation out, leading to UE's and a rising frustration level. My solution has been to get a cap to block out the floodlights. Something I'd never usually do as i hate caps.

    Another issue is when i carry frustration or anger from work/real life onto court with me. It ruins my focus and i can never get into any rhythm. Thinking about crushing my boss's skull whilst trying to serve is not a recipe for success. Its why i am interested in players who can just "flush" negative situations and emotions to reset themselves.
     
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  8. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Disagree. There are those who do drills beautifully and then revert several levels downward when in a match. I'm not saying fitness and drills are not important; I am saying that focus is important also. I do not regard it as snake oil.

    I've seen a lot more people lose because of their lack of mental toughness than due to fitness and poor drill skills. That's a completely subjective observation, though.
     
    #58
  9. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I never did the routine thing until I got bumped to 4.5 and started looking around for ways to become mentally stronger. That and thinking about the process as opposed to the result have tremendously helped me.
     
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  10. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Is there anything in particular that Serena Williams has done training-wise for her mental game? She has an amazing 22-6 record in grand slam finals.
     
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  11. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Legend

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    Interestingly "routines/rituals" are not the cure per se, they are the means to the end. The routine is the framework into which you can build your mental skills - your imagery, your self talk, your focus shift techniques, your breathing patterns etc etc.

    It is entirely possible to have a routine and for it not to mean anything (many players do!). An example, When Louis Oosthuizen won the Open Golf Championship a few years back he did so with a red dot drawn onto his golf glove (he and his psychologist devised it as somewhere his focus could go if he felt it wandering away from the task). The following day club golfers up and down the country turned out for the morning round with red dots drawn onto their gloves - because Ooshuizen had won the Open with one on his glove it must be a good thing to do - except that it had no meaning for any of them except Louis Oosthuizen.

    Once a routine becomes routine (that is, it's just something you do because you do it, it loses meaning and becomes pretty much non-consequential (i.e you'd be just as effective not doing it as doing it). Routines are great - as long as the elements of it have specific meaning/purpose to you.
     
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  12. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly. We see Sureshs letting the ball bounce twice and assume things but its just a routine he uses to improve his mental toughness...
     
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