What is the best way...

jga111

Hall of Fame
#1
...of changing your mindset at the start of a league match from a nervous one to one that will allow you to play free and loose tennis?

I am struggling to find what works for me.

Have YOU found what works for you? Please share
 
#3
...of changing your mindset at the start of a league match from a nervous one to one that will allow you to play free and loose tennis?

I am struggling to find what works for me.

Have YOU found what works for you? Please share
By trusting your strokes and having confidence in them.

That comes with playing long enough practicing long enough and playing enough competitive matches that you trust your strokes and know you can hit them well.

It takes time.

I trust my 1st serve and always when i serve im relaxed and loose and i serve well.

But when i hit a shot I dont yet fully trust im tight and nervious because im unsure if i can reliably make it and afraid to miss.

Like 2nd serve, in practice i hit in the same amount of 1st serves than in a match, but I hit much more 2nd serves in when i practice than in a match.

Its about trusting your stroke and being confident.
 
#4
For me it’s still chance. I find that when I crack a return back on the bh side, whether ugly or not, I feel like I can play.

Like the prior poster said it’s having the confidence in the preparation. I think because I’ve worked so long on the bh side that when I can ground a point to my practice other connections happen.



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#5
first trust your strokes. Second this is rec tennis, deciper your opponents weakness, we all have them while not exposing your own. I played a doubles team yesterday that on initial inspection seemed like an easy win.
They had terrible looking strokes but they were young and mobile and when they connected it was fast, deep, and had a lot of weight to it. My partner and I, both middle age hacks lost the first set 6-3. It hit us before we figured it out. They seemed over confident.
Second set we calmed down and instead of trying to outhit these young guns, we started slicing and playing more net. Then we started throwing lobs. We went on to win 6-1 in second and won the 10 point tiebreaker.
 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
#6
to try to get to the ball and really look at it through impact. most of the time this gets me into being in the moment & not overthinking.
I second this based on experience and also on the Inner game of tennis book.

Also you need more matches under your belt(at least I do).
 
#7
to try to get to the ball and really look at it through impact. most of the time this gets me into being in the moment & not overthinking. Also, a daring chip and charge return tactic also gets me into the match.
+1, i focus on the work (split, first move, adjusting steps, etc...)i need to do to be able to get to the ball early and prep... that usually keeps my mind/body too occupied to get nervous.

maybe movement in general helps "burn off" nerves.
 
#9
...of changing your mindset at the start of a league match from a nervous one to one that will allow you to play free and loose tennis?

I am struggling to find what works for me.

Have YOU found what works for you? Please share
It doesn't matter what level you might be or the ambitions you have for yourself as a tennis player - big or small. I can't recommend enough a read of Vic Braden's book, "Mental Tennis". Far and away the best wisdom I've ever found for myself, both as a player and also a coach. Wonderful insight, fun stories... all sorts of stuff I wish I understood when I was a kid. And yes, a good chunk of this book addresses overcoming nerves on the court.
 
#11
...of changing your mindset at the start of a league match from a nervous one to one that will allow you to play free and loose tennis?

I am struggling to find what works for me.

Have YOU found what works for you? Please share
Leave your expectations at the gate. A lot of the nerves might come from expectations:
- I should win because I'm the higher rated player
- I can't let myself down
- I can't let my team down
- I can't embarass myself in front of the crowd
- He's got a great record so I have to hit a bunch of winners to beat him

Remember: it's recreational. It's supposed to be fun. Be thankful you have the opportunity to play.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
#12
Thank you all for your posts. All your input is much appreciated.

On top of all the great advice I think what I need to do is learn not to take it seriously, which is pretty hard for me because rightly wrongly, I do! Yes I'm only a rec player but if I only took the game as fun I would never have the FH and BH I do now.

"Be thankful you have the opportunity to play"

This is so true @S&V-not_dead_yet There is a lot of mental prep work I need before the match and I must remember this, and take the whole seriousness element out of the game. Somehow :)
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
#13
It doesn't matter what level you might be or the ambitions you have for yourself as a tennis player - big or small. I can't recommend enough a read of Vic Braden's book, "Mental Tennis". Far and away the best wisdom I've ever found for myself, both as a player and also a coach. Wonderful insight, fun stories... all sorts of stuff I wish I understood when I was a kid. And yes, a good chunk of this book addresses overcoming nerves on the court.
Thanks a lot for this!
 
#15
Be thankful you have the opportunity to play.
Immensior this.

In a way I think injuries has been a blessing for me, just in the fact I've learned to appreciate my time being able to compete more. I still have a lot of things that just don't seem to be coming back, and I get a bit frustrated, but just being able to be out and playing, for whatever it is anymore, is where I put most my focus. Basically just doing the process and trying the best I can, and let everything else fall in place.
 
#16
...of changing your mindset at the start of a league match from a nervous one to one that will allow you to play free and loose tennis?

I am struggling to find what works for me.

Have YOU found what works for you? Please share
There is a technique called the Alexander Technique that you can Google.

In the 1880s, Alexander was an actor. He became disturbed before his performances to the extent that it would affect performances often by affecting his speech physically. He learned that if he thought to himself that 'I have to give a performance' that thought repeatedly triggered a sequence of changes that eventually tightened him up physically.

He wanted to stop the sequence before it got started from the thought 'I have to perform in 1 hour'. One discovery was that if he thought or said 'I don't have to perform in 1 hour', that conscious thought or spoken words often would prevent the unwanted sequence of changes from occurring.

Examples,

I don't have to get my serve in.
I don't have to hold my serve.
I don't have to win this game.
and for match point
I don't have to win this next point.

The words are nonsense and maybe make for a laugh that probably also helps to loosen the tightness. The train goes to another track........

I especially like to say - when my doubles partner says 'we just have to hold serve' - 'no, we don't have to hold serve' and smile. It does reduce the tension.

I recently attended a talk on the Alexander Technique. As an example, to help posture and motion issues, the class was instructed to change their walking posture. The entire class walked outside and said aloud "I'm not walking" as they all walked along. It does have some effect on clearing your mind for something new.

I've been interested in the Alexander Technique for retraining tennis strokes. The AT has been applied to golf and tennis and probably other sports. I think it offers an approach that is positive and might be more. 'I am not hitting a forehand.' just before you try a new forehand technique.

Alexander wrote books, was very successful and his technique is taught to actors today. His book Use of the Self has a chapter on changing the golf swing. It should be an interesting book for players changing muscle memory and instructors.
 
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#17
Immensior this.

In a way I think injuries has been a blessing for me, just in the fact I've learned to appreciate my time being able to compete more. I still have a lot of things that just don't seem to be coming back, and I get a bit frustrated, but just being able to be out and playing, for whatever it is anymore, is where I put most my focus. Basically just doing the process and trying the best I can, and let everything else fall in place.
"immensior"? Is that Latin?

I think what you mentioned is filed under "you don't know whatcha got until it's gone". Fortunately for you, it came back [mostly]. I feel the same way after recovering from an injury or even just a cold or not being able to play due to my schedule.

As I was driving to tennis, I heard a story of a young mother with terminal cancer writing a letter to her daughters for after she died. That sort of puts my tennis worries into perspective.
 
#18
Thank you all for your posts. All your input is much appreciated.

On top of all the great advice I think what I need to do is learn not to take it seriously, which is pretty hard for me because rightly wrongly, I do!
Well, the first step to solving the problem is recognition. So you're on your way!

People with type A, perfectionist, goal-oriented personalities tend to be more susceptible to taking things too seriously.

Yes I'm only a rec player
I dislike it when people say this. Being a rec player doesn't invalidate wanting to improve or play well. Often, it's used as a putdown by one rec player to another ["You're only a 3.5 NTRP; stop fussing so much." This when the person making the statement is a 4.0.].

but if I only took the game as fun I would never have the FH and BH I do now.
I don't know if that's true. There are many ways up the mountain. It's quite possible that you've achieved your current skills in spite of your seriousness rather than because of it. Or, maybe in the beginning it was easier to master certain skills so the seriousness didn't hurt you or even helped you. But now you're at a higher-skill level and seriousness alone won't cut it. The "having fun" part might play a bigger role.

I'm not saying to not care; I am suggesting that only being serious could undercut your game and enjoyment.

"Be thankful you have the opportunity to play"

This is so true @S&V-not_dead_yet There is a lot of mental prep work I need before the match and I must remember this, and take the whole seriousness element out of the game. Somehow :)
Again, don't chuck seriousness out the window. But learn to balance it with fun and enjoyment and being in the moment. Experiment with the mix that produces the best results in terms of winning and enjoyment.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
#19
There is a technique called the Alexander Technique that you can Google.

In the 1880s, Alexander was an actor. He became disturbed before his performances to the extent that it would affect performances often by affecting his speech physically. He learned that if he thought to himself that 'I have to give a performance' that thought repeatedly triggered a sequence of changes that eventually tightened him up physically.

He wanted to stop the sequence before it got started from the thought 'I have to perform in 1 hour'. One discovery was that if he thought or said 'I don't have to perform in 1 hour', that conscious thought or spoken words often would prevent the unwanted sequence of changes from occurring.

Examples,

I don't have to get my serve in.
I don't have to hold my serve.
I don't have to win this game.
and for match point
I don't have to win this next point.

The words are nonsense and maybe make for a laugh that probably also helps to loosen the tightness. The train goes to another track........

I especially like to say - when my doubles partner says 'we just have to hold serve' - 'no, we don't have to hold serve' and smile. It does reduce the tension.
.
I recently attended a talk on the Alexander Technique. As an example, to help posture and motion issues, the class was instructed to change their walking posture. The entire class walked outside and said aloud "I'm not walking" as they all walked along. It does have some effect on clearing your mind for something new.

I've been interested in the Alexander Technique for retraining tennis strokes. The AT has been applied to golf and tennis and probably other sports. I think it offers an approach that is positive and might be more. 'I am not hitting a forehand.' just before you try a new forehand technique.

Alexander wrote books, was very successful and his technique is taught to actors today. His book Use of the Self has a chapter on changing the golf swing. It should be an interesting book for players changing muscle memory and instructors.
This is great.

"I don't have to win this game"
"I don't have to win this set"
"I don't have to hold game"..

I can get used to this! Genius
 
#22
Don't leave us hanging: what does it mean? Is it Latin for "true dat!"?

Literally means, immensly, but in context is meant as saying VERY MUCH SO. A friend who was Jewish would always say, "oy vey", but in really awful situations would say "immensior vey!". So I always add it to things that are the top or greatly something. So like saying immensior this is saying very much this.

Probably not proper Latin, but you get this idea.
 
#23
Literally means, immensly, but in context is meant as saying VERY MUCH SO. A friend who was Jewish would always say, "oy vey", but in really awful situations would say "immensior vey!". So I always add it to things that are the top or greatly something. So like saying immensior this is saying very much this.

Probably not proper Latin, but you get this idea.
I like it. Next time you watch a match live, shout "immensior" after a good point. Try and get everyone around you to join in. I dub it "The Chael Chant". I'll send you my venmo for my royalties.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
#25
I played my match in the wind a couple of days ago - lost 6-4,6-2. But lost without any issue. He tactically outplayed me, but I recognise that and know what to improve on.

Psychologically I was happy.

@Chas Tennis

I just kept on saying to myself "I don't have to win this game" "I don't have to win this set"...Hell I even said "I don't have to win this match".

And I yes it really helped me and I started playing some good offensive tennis without being too tight. Definitely made a difference.
 
#26
I played my match in the wind a couple of days ago - lost 6-4,6-2. But lost without any issue. He tactically outplayed me, but I recognise that and know what to improve on.

Psychologically I was happy.

@Chas Tennis

I just kept on saying to myself "I don't have to win this game" "I don't have to win this set"...Hell I even said "I don't have to win this match".

And I yes it really helped me and I started playing some good offensive tennis without being too tight. Definitely made a difference.
Great!

The Alexander Technique has a lot more. As I said the book Use of the Self has a chapter on learning the Golf swing. The book is low cost and I thought that it had some interesting insights.

Go to shorter times - "I don't have to hit this forehand." If tension there is having an effect then maybe it would help?
 
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