Emotional Control Leads Azarenka to Win

Tennis Psychology

How Dwelling on The Past Can Hurt Performance

Tennis players can experience strong emotions during match play.

Positive emotions, such as experiencing the thrill of hitting a winner can have a powerful effect on your mental game and thus boost your confidence and focus during the match. Feeling positive emotions, such as momentum, can help keep your run going strong.

Negative emotions, such as frustration or anger, can hurt your game.

Tennis players feel upset, frustrated or angry for several different reasons. You might become upset after missing shots you have no trouble executing in practice. You might feel angry with yourself after making a poor decision on shot selection or strategy. You might even become frustrated with an opponent’s bad line call.

Whatever the cause of your frustration, a process I call “dwelling on the past” happens and causes you to lose focus on the match. You may carry your frustration with you to the next point or shot causing more mistakes and lower confidence in your game.

Staying composed is critical to improving your mental game of tennis.

Victoria Azarenka is an excellent example of staying composed on the court. She experienced the biggest win of her career so far, beating Serena Williams in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open last week.

“I was more consistent and more aggressive. I would say I was always trying to put pressure and I was just believing in myself so much. No matter what, I have to play and keep going and I can win. I think I controlled [my emotions] very well for the first big final. I wasn’t getting upset on any ball. I was just happy to play every point,” said Victoria Azarenka.

Often in my work as a mental game coach to athletes, I see athletes become frustrated because they are blocked from reaching their expectations.

The solution is to modify your unrealistic or strict expectations.

Your expectations might be about stats (number of winners for example) or results (beating someone in two sets). When you don’t achieve those high expectations, you become frustrated easily and might lose confidence.

Your Mental Game Tip For Today

Understand that you can’t be perfect in tennis and always play up to your high expectations. Give yourself the luxury of making 3-4 errors per match. This way you can put mistakes behind you and move on to the next point.

Learn from your mistakes instead of beat yourself up for a lost chance or opportunity.

*Subscribe to The Tennis Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Tennis Psychology Podcast on Spotify

Improve Your Mental Game for Tennis

Tennis Confidence 2.0

Tennis Confidence CD

Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players” is an audio and workbook program to help tennis players, coaches, and instructors improve the mental game of tennis is just 10 easy to learn sessions. Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players Audio and Workbook program is ideal for any junior, collegiate, and tour professional player. Tennis coaches and instructors would also be wise to teach the strategies “Tennis Confidence.”

Tennis Confidence is a complete mental training program developed Peak Performance Sports. You learn the same strategies Dr. Cohn teaches his tennis players to help them improve mental toughness and consistency – from managing unrealistic expectations to coping with perfectionism.

Read more about Tennis Confidence Program>>

Leave a Comment