REFLECTIONS ON THE MENTAL SIDE OF TENNIS

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

The problems that most baffle tennis players are not related to how they hit the tennis balls (in spanish: pelotas de tenis). Books and professional coaches provide a lot of information about the technical side of things. Most players do not complain about their physical condition. The most common complaint from tennis players of all ages is, "It's not that I don't know what to do, but I don't do what I know. 

 

From players you can often hear these complaints: "I play better when I train than during competition" or "I know I'm making a mistake when I hit right, but I don't know how to get rid of this mistake". Most athletes in other sports face these problems as well, but perhaps not as intensely as in tennis. 

 

Tennis players often hear that tennis is a very psychological game, so you have to develop the right mental attitude. One must be confident and want to win, otherwise one will always lose. Play and don't think about how to hit. Sometimes a tennis player achieves a good stroke and it seems that at this moment he does not think about how to play, he just plays and lets himself go.

 

However, this is not exactly the case. To be able to play at the level of not thinking about 'playing' implies a winning mental state with many hours of training both physically and psychologically. The tennis player must be completely sure that nothing in him or his equipment will fail. He must know himself perfectly, know that his body will respond as it should because it is trained; that the tennis rackets he will use in the competition will not fail him, because they are the best; that the strings of the rackets are adjusted in the optimal point so that he or she can give the best of themselves. That confidence is the first step in the mental preparation needed to win a tournament, and it can and should be worked on. And that confidence crumbles when we force ourselves to 'think' about how to play well while playing. The work of thinking about playing well is previous, never during the game. Let me explain.

 

I suggest you do a little experiment. On the day that your training partner plays very well, that is, is in good shape, ask him or her, "Hey, what did you add to your right-hand shot? You did great today. If he takes the bait (it will be 95% of the time), he will start talking about how to swing, where he is in relation to the ball, etc. If you play again after this, your partner will start making mistakes very quickly, he will try very hard to do what he just told you.

 

Is it possible to play by turning off your mind on purpose? How can one be consciously unconscious? There is an undoubted contradiction in this. However, a similar condition can be achieved. About this state of the player we can say that his mind is so concentrated that it does not interfere with the naturalness of the movements. In this state, the body functions automatically, without the intervention of thoughts. The mind does not evaluate actions, does not dictate how to act, it helps to play without thoughts. The ability to approach that state of mind during a game is the goal of a tennis player who wants to achieve "maximum" results. 

 

Effective training in tennis or playing on the court is only possible subject to the following rules: It is necessary to present clearly the image of the desired result. Trust your body's intuition to perform strokes naturally, learning from successes and mistakes. Seeing, feeling, hearing your strokes and not evaluating them from a position is either good or bad, that is, one must learn to calm the mind.  

 

A relaxed mind. That is what confidence and a winning spirit consists of, that nothing that happens is capable of altering our game. We are approaching a key point: the mobility of our mind makes it difficult to manifest natural abilities, and especially intuition. Without it, it is impossible to achieve an effective activity, without it there is no great tennis. As the mind calms down, the tennis player does not think about how, when and where to receive a stroke. He does not apply all his efforts at the moment of impact, he does not evaluate his strokes. He just plays his favorite game. He hears the sound of a shot, feels muscle contact with the ball, but it is not reflected in the tennis. It is said that good music and art emerge from the depths of a quiet mind. So, the greatest achievements in sports occur when the mind is as calm as a crystalline lake. 

 

If you are reflecting on your highest achievements, remember these feelings. During such experiences, the mind does not act separately, say what should be done, or criticize the action. It is calm, the action flows freely like a river. When this happens on the tennis court, we are concentrating, not trying to concentrate. We feel at ease and free. We have the inner confidence that we can do what is required, and we don't need to try too hard. 

 

Apparently, these moments occur most often when players exchange strokes on a net. Often, the exchange of strokes is so fast that there is no time to think. At such times, players are often surprised to discover that they have made attacks that they could not even dream of. Moving fast, they have no time to plan, just a perfect hit happens. Players often call these strikes simply luck, but if this happens repeatedly, they begin to believe in themselves and feel a deep sense of confidence. In short, in order to "focus" it is necessary to slow down the mind. To calm the mind means to stop thinking, counting, judging, worrying, fearing, waiting, trying, regretting, controlling, shaking with emotion or being distracted. The goal of any tennis player is to increase the frequency and duration of these moments, calming the mind to gradually expand the ability to learn and perform. 

 

Obviously this is much easier said than done, but whenever you realize that the tension has irrevocably invaded your mind, think about why you started playing tennis. Maybe your beginnings were the same as everyone else's, you wanted to play sports and have fun. Reconnect with that fun. If you can't with tennis, take your paddle or badminton rackets and invite some friends to play, if they are not competitive, just for fun. Take some time and disconnect, enjoy playing other racket sports so you don't lose your shape, take the opportunity to take your rackets to a tennis racket string store (tienda de cordajes de raquetas de tenis) so they leave them as good as new, and once you have reset your mind, come back stronger than ever. 






rich_text    
Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content
rich_text    

Page Comments