Tennis Psychology: Safina Down, Not Out

Tennis psychology and lack of motivation and fun may have caused Safina to end her career in tennis. Dinara Safina was on the verge of quitting tennis earlier this year. A few bad losses got her thinking about her game.

Safina reflected on her tough start this year:

“Really, at the beginning of this year I was so deep in the hole I didn’t know how to get out of there. I was completely lost. I was not enjoying. It wasn’t that I stopped loving this game, but it was why do I have to suffer so much? I go on the court and nothing is going well, and it was really a disaster.”

But, somehow she had turned her mediocre year into one of her most consistent and best years in a long time. She was able to raise her mental game of tennis and beat top players. She won tournaments and battled back when she was down and out.

What was Dinara Safina’s secret to turning her game around? Her secret wasn’t magic dust or waiting for wins to come. She wasn’t thinking about an easy way out. She buckled down and made a commitment to improve her mental game of tennis.

Commitment is key to improve your mental game. You must be proactive with your attitude and mental game of tennis and not wait for it to turn around. Many players wait untill they are in a slump to work on their mental game. Don’t wait for a slump to improve your attitude in tennis and mental game.

Her commitment to her mental toughness set her tennis game on fire:

“I think in the crucial moments I was suffering so much, so now, in the tough moments, I’m more positive and I’m like okay, I’ve been in worse moments so I’ll get out of here. It’s made me stronger.”
~Dinara Safina

Negative thinking in tennis, especially in the critical moments, can have a snowball effect on your game. You start making more errors, get more frustrated, and pretty soon you’re mentally checked out for the rest of the match.

Safina was able to bounce back from her mistakes. She learned what needs improvement and how to refocus on her goals. She knew she’s gotten out of the tough moments before. Positive thinking and self-confidence were the keys to her success.

The best tennis players on the WTA, like Dinara Safina, aren’t going to pack up and go home after a few losses. They don’t quit. They go back to the drawing board, find out what needs to improve and continue to work in the face of obstacles.