How to Improve Your Self-Talk in Tennis
I’m certain you’ve gotten down on yourself at some point during a match….
You might have trouble staying positive when you find yourself down in a match or after making a few stupid shots at critical times in a match…
You begin to feel frustrated… You put yourself down and tell yourself how horrible you are doing…
You want to give up and find it even more difficult to return balls that you know are in your range… This is followed by more negative talk…
Your confidence is shot… You just want the embarrassment and torture to be over as quickly as possible so you can get off the court and go home…
Even after the match, the negative self-talk continues…
“What is wrong with me? My serve is horrible. I can’t win a set. All I do is mess up. I don’t even know why I play anymore.”
The biggest problem with negative self-talk is that affects your level of effort.
When you say to yourself, “My serve stinks,” it’s likely you will hit the ball with less pace and your opponent will smash it down the line for a winner…
When you tell yourself, “I’m a horrible player,” you will half-heartedly go after balls…
When your think, “All I do is mess up,” you will lob the ball over the net instead of going for winners.
When you tussle with negative thoughts, your hustle will suffer.
Case in point, Nick Kyrgios’ second round match at the 2018 US Open.
Kyrgios, who lost the first set and was down 0-3 in the second set, let two serves pass him and reportedly threatened to quit the match.
Kyrgios is an emotionally volatile player whose attitude and lack of effort have been questioned by many in the tennis world.
KYRGIOS: “I know what I was doing wasn’t good… Look. I wasn’t feeling good. I know what I was doing out there wasn’t good.”
Curiously enough and without getting into the ethics of the situation, the umpire gave Kyrgios a bit of a pep talk that may have helped Kyrgios turn things around and win the match 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.
The umpire’s words of encouragement are something that may have affected Kyrgios’ self-talk and level of effort, “I’ve seen your matches: you’re great for tennis. Nick, I know this is not you.”
As Roger Federer said about the incident:
“Conversations can change your mindset.”
Kyrgios’ performance improved because the message changed from negative to positive. You don’t have to wait for a pep talk from someone else to change how you play the game.
That is the reason it is called self-talk.
By sending yourself positive messages via self-talk you can shift momentum and regain control of your mental game.
Strategies for Improving Self-Talk
Strategy #1: Give yourself a positive pep talk… “Let’s go! Get this point. I’ve comeback before. It’s time to take charge!” The message you send to yourself can keep your motivation, energy effort at high levels.
Strategy #2: Reboot your mental computer. Hit the reset button. Take a few deep breaths, bounce on the balls of your feet, hit your racquet strings a couple of times then say, “Focus on this point.” By changing your focus to what is important, you won’t get dragged down by negativity.
For more strategies on improving self-talk and boosting your tennis game, check out our audio and workbook program, “Tennis Confidence”:
Learn Proven Tennis Mental Game Strategies To Perform Your Best On The Court!
Are you (or your players) performing up to your ability in competition?
Do you bring your best and most confident game to matches?
I often hear players complain about the following problems when they play in matches…
“I get so tight or tense before matches that I can’t think straight or have any rhythm in my game.”
“I get so frustrated with hitting bad shots or with errors and it snowballs.”
“I expect so much when I play that I unravel and lose confidence when the match does not go as planned.”
“My confidence seems to disappear when I go from practice to matches and I don’t know why.”
Successful tennis players have learned how to perform with ultimate confidence in tournaments.
If you are ready to improve your mental toughness and perform with ultimate self-confidence in matches, Tennis Confidence: Mental Toughness For Tournament Players can help you do this!
- Players: Learn how to take control of your confidence, focus your best, and win more close matches.
- Parents: Help boost your junior tennis player’s confidence for tournaments. Just load the program on your player’s IPod!
- Coaches: Boost your team’s confidence using simple, proven mental strategies.
- Instructors: Learn how to give your students the mental game advantage.
Use Tennis Confidence to help boost your mental toughness in tennis and discover powerful and proven mental game strategies that have helped professional athletes win!
What are mental game customers saying?
“Dr. Cohn did a great job working with my son Joe on his mental skills for tennis. He taught him the mental skills and discipline necessary to move to the next level.”
~Mike Withers, dad of Joe Withers
“Since you last worked with AJ in early September, his National ranking has improved from 349 to 148. His tournament record at one point, since talking with you was 17-4, with 3 of the 4 being in third sets or tiebreakers and 2 of those matches being the same player, whom he has since beaten (you may recall he was on an 0-9 losing streak when we contacted you). His tie-breaker record is at least 90% through last weekend when he won the 18s District tournament with a semi and final match tiebreak win. Your help has definitely improved AJ’s results and his on-court demeanor has substantially improved.”
~Dawn Woodman, A.J.’s Mother