How Gauff Wins with Her “B” Game

How Gauff Wins with Her “B” Game

How confident are you in your ability to win when you are playing without your “A” game?

Many players cheat themselves out of victories because they believe they need to be on top of their game to be victorious.

There are two problems with that belief:

1. How often are all the components of your game clicking simultaneously? 

In other words, how many matches have you played when you had a powerful, well-placed serve…  an explosive, accurate forehand… a strong, reliable backhand… and a dynamic volley game throughout every set?

2. If you can only win with your “A” game, how will that impact your effort and focus?

If you believe you cannot win, will you aggressively go for your shots and chase down balls? Will you play with tenacity and grit?

Tennis matches are a series of mini-battles. Your approach to each battle and each point affects your focus, effort, emotions, and level of play.

How can you give yourself a chance to win with your “B” game?

* Challenge your beliefs. For example, have you ever won with your “B” game in the past? How do you know your game won’t improve during the match?

What if your opponent melts down at some point in the match? Once you break down your old belief system, you can develop a more realistic and beneficial approach to competing when your game is slightly off.

* You can increase your chances of winning by battling one point at a time during a match. After each point, regain your composure if you feel intense emotions welling up and reset for the next point.

* Focus on what is working in your game. When you compete from your strengths, you will play with greater confidence.

* Take pride in the fight. Many matches are won due to a player competing with mental toughness when not on top of their game.

Coco Gauff won her eighth WTA title at the 2024 Auckland Classic by defeating Elina Svitolina 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3. After losing the first set in a tiebreak, Gauff recovered and continued competing even though her game was slightly off.

GAUFF: “It gives me a lot of confidence beating Elina. It was cool seeing how I handled the pressure especially after losing the first set. I was proud of the mental fight I showed today.”

One lesson Gauff learned after winning her first grand slam title is the value of grinding throughout a match or tournament.

GAUFF: “The biggest thing I learned in winning a slam is that you are going to have to win one of those matches with not playing your best. This week, I did that.”

Resilient tennis results from battling, remaining mentally tough, and having confidence in your ability to find a way to win.

Resilient tennis is more about mental toughness than physical skills. To play resilient tennis, commit to competing before each point–no matter how well you are playing today.

You can use a key phrase such as “Next battle” to remind yourself to let go of the last point and focus forward.

*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 2.0

This Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Playersis Dr. Cohn’s program to help tennis players, coaches, and instructors improve the mental game of tennis is just 8 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.”

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