How Perfectionism Hurts Your Mindset for Tennis

Playing to Your Potential

Using a Growth Mindset to Improve Your Game

In tennis, you can’t expect perfection… Actually, you can’t even attain perfection–it’s just not possible.

Despite that well known fact, some tennis players are too focused on hitting perfect shots and not missing.

Think of that proposition for a minute… Some tennis players think if they are not performing perfectly, then they are not playing well.

Has any match you played ever been perfect?

You might point to a perfect game in baseball or a perfect score in gymnastics or break a world record, but does that truly indicate that the performance was perfect.

So, the only outcome that can exist for a perfectionist is not performing up to one’s expectations.

That is why perfectionists feel anxious before a performance, frustrated during a performance, and devastated after a performance…

For a perfectionist, competition is truly is no-win situation.

You don’t need to be perfect to advance in tennis or become a successful tennis player.

What do perfectionists have to do to play better tennis and enjoy the game?

A more effective method to reach your potential is to have a growth mindset.

A growth mindset focuses on improvement or developing your game on a continued basis.

When you have a growth mindset, you focus on the process instead of the result. A loss or a mistake is lesson that can help mold future success instead of an indictment that you lack talent.

Grigor Dimitrov enjoyed a very successful junior career and even held the world No. 1 ranking. Since turning pro, Dimitrov has been trying to ascend the rankings on the men’s tour.

Dimitrov has been focused on getting better each tournament and his growth mindset has paid off. Not only did Dimitrov reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Cincinati, he won the title by defeating Nick Kyrgios in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.

Prior to the final, Dimitrov talked about his mindset and focus on the process.

DIMITROV: “For me, right now is just all about just going step by step and just building up not only my confidence, my game, to be able to do that pretty much every time I’m entering a tournament… Hopefully tomorrow [Cincinnati 1000 final] is going to be one of those days that I can, again, produce good tennis. But not only that, I just kind of want to make sure that I’m going in the right direction.”

Think of it… If you keep focusing on the process, working on your game and trying to get better each and every day, the progress you will eventually see will be staggering.

How to Play to Your Potential:

I teach perfectionists how to play functional tennis and strive for excellence instead of demanding perfection.

First, give yourself three mistakes per set when you play–knowing that you will miss some shots and that’s part of tennis.

And always remember, success is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Evaluate your game based on a scale from 1-10 instead of your game being good or bad at any moment.

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Improve Your Mental Game for Tennis

Tennis Confidence 2.0

Tennis Confidence CD

Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players” is 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 in “Tennis Confidence 2.0.”

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

Read more about Tennis Confidence Program>>

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