Confidence can be fragile for many tennis players, which makes it difficult to have a strong mental game of tennis. What is fragile self-confidence in tennis? It means your confidence is prone to go up and down rapidly one point to the next because of how you think you are playing. We also call this being on the confidence roller coaster.
Many tennis players allow their confidence to be thrashed around by immediate results such as missing an overhead on game point or losing a deuce game. They also allow circumstances to upset their confidence such as playing in the heat or playing on an unfamiliar surface such as clay.
How do tennis players sabotage their mental toughness with being prone to the confidence roller coaster?
Tennis players can sabotage their performance in many ways. The most common way to sabotage your performance is to let a mistake bash your confidence. Tennis players with fragile self-confidence lose self-confidence quickly when their performance doesn’t match their own expectations.
Top tennis players such as Roger Federer and Venus Williams build their self-confidence based on years of practice and play. They also have the mental toughness to remain confident after losses or poor performances. They bounce back stronger players.
Here’s your tennis psychology tip for today. Think about your confidence as being on a steady wave. You don’t want one mistake to rattle your confidence and then turn into more mistakes and more dropped games. You can build a strong tennis mind game by blowing off mistakes and staying on the confidence horse. Tell yourself it’s only one shot and focus on the next point. The key to mental toughness is to forget about your past mistakes and play each point as if it is the first point of the match.
Also, be mindful of what you say to yourself after mistakes. Don’t engage in negative self-talk and beat yourself up, which I call being your own worst enemy. Negative self-talk – “I just don’t have my A game today” – after a mistake can lead to doubt or questioning your ability. Negative self-talk does not help you win tennis matches. Work on being your own best friend. Turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk. What would the most positive coach say to you after you made a double fault? Be at least that positive with yourself!
If you want to learn how to stay off the confidence roller coaster, snag a copy of The Confident Athlete at http://www.peaksports.com/the-confident-athlete-cd-program/