How To Stay in The Moment and Focus on The Next Point
When you are down a set, how do you respond? Do you get frustrated or do you refocus and get your head back in the game?
A lost set can cause some players to panic or lose confidence. Have you ever bounced back when you were panicked? Chances are you probably imploded and lost the match. I’ve seen it many times in junior tennis…
Focusing on the last point or set will not help you win the next point. This issue was raised by a tennis player from our Mental Game of Tennis Needs Survey:
“How can I stop getting so frustrated when I miss shots? When others miss shots or hit unforced errors, I’m super encouraged and feel positive. But when I miss shots, I become so hard on myself which effects my performance.”
The answer to your question is easy but the application of the mental skill can be difficult.
You know that focusing on your unforced errors ignites intense negative emotions. When you hit a few returns long, you become frustrated and tense. You know you could have easily won those points, so you become angry with yourself.
The more angered you become, the more you berate yourself, “What the heck is wrong with me? Why do I always do this? I am going to lose this match?” All these thoughts keep your mind stuck in the past.
How do you stop this snowball effect? Listen to your emotions. If you feel negative emotions stir, know this is a sign you are dwelling on the past.
You might also notice behavior changes such as speeding up your routine on the service line.
The key is to shift gears and focus on the present moment, for example, your strategy for the current point. Letting go of the past and focusing in the present helps keep your emotions in check.
At the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open, Paula Badosa overcame Jil Teichmann to win their second-round match, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
After losing the first set, Badosa adjusted and focused on her strategy for each point. Badosa’s ability to focus on the present point paid off. By the end of the match, Teichmann had three more winners than Badosa but 15 more unforced errors.
BADOSA: “At the beginning of the first set, I wasn’t feeling myself. I was missing a little bit, quite too much. But then I started to hit very hard, aggressive. I knew in the match, the key was to hit hard because she’s a player that moves you a lot. I knew I had to hit the first two, three balls very hard. That’s what I started to do. I started to find myself. That was the key.”
Focusing on past points or sets only leads to more lost points. When you focus on only the next point, you immerse yourself in the present moment and play with less anxiety.
How to Move on from Mistakes During Tennis Match:
When you notice anxiety, frustration or anger build within you, you should take it as a signal that your mind is focus on past points. It’s important to recognize those negative emotions as a warning sign so you can adjust.
Take a mental timeout and go to your towel or the fence. Keep your back to the court until you are ready to commit to playing the next point.
Be sure to remind yourself that the past is in the past and it’s time to grind it out and adjust your game.
Related Articles for Tennis Focus:
- Stay Mentally Tough During Matches
- How to Get the Mental Edge in Tennis
- What to do When Frustrated During Matches
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