Comfort Zones in Tennis
A comfort zone for tennis players can hold back their tennis game.
What are comfort zones?
Comfort zones are expectations about how you think you should perform. Comfort zones may be based on your statistics, your record against a particular player or scoring during a match.
Your biggest challenge with a comfort zone is when you’re playing better than expected. Most players tend to protect their lead in the set or match when they limit themselves with a comfort zone.
Here’s an example from a junior tennis player…
“I was up by four games, was performing at my peak. I then decided to ease up a little and then my whole game was thrown off. My opponent was able to get four straight games from me and ended up winning the one set match. But after that fourth game, I guess I was afraid of using the angles so I was mostly rallying the points out but instead of making my opponent run around, I was the one playing at my opponents pace.”
Tennis players who play within their comfort zone often play tentatively and try to avoid making mistakes. You focus on not messing up rather than on how you will construct the point to your advantage.
You might also think that you’ve got the match won already and coast. You might think you can ease up and just get the ball in the court to win the match. Both mindsets are detrimental to your performance.
How do you know if you’re playing within your comfort zone?
Here are 4 signs that you’re playing within your tennis comfort zone:
- You’re nervous or anxious when you’re playing better than expected
- You start to lose confidence when you’re playing better than expected
- You protect your lead and play tentatively when you have a big lead
- You are afraid to make mistakes when you are up in the set
Once you know you’re playing within a comfort zone, the next step is to learn how to push beyond your comfort zone. You’ll want to focus on the process, rather than thinking about the score or who is up in the match.
You should strive to play each game as if it is the start of the match, with the same intensity. That way, you’re not thinking about who is up or down in the match.
You’ll also want to continue to play aggressively. Go for your shots. Try to avoid just getting the ball back in the court.
When you play within a comfort zone, you start to let up and play defensively. An aggressive style of play will keep your momentum going and help you finish off the match.
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