How Sabalenka Leanred to Fix Her Mindset

How Sabalenka Leanred to Fix Her Mindset

What is the most challenging thing for you on the tennis court

A blazing serve by your opponent or managing your anger when you are not playing well?

There are several physical challenges during matches, such as playing against an opponent with powerful groundstrokes, who covers the entire court and returns practically every ball, or who hits precise shots just within the lines.

A tennis player who responded to our Mental Game of Tennis Needs Survey asked a common question:

“How can I stop myself from getting so angry on the court?”

Many tennis players find managing their emotions challenging during competitive matches. Losing your serve, unforced errors, a bad line call, or an unsportsmanlike opponent can set the anger dominoes in motion. 

Once your anger spirals downward, regaining emotional control becomes exceedingly difficult.

You have already taken the first step by realizing that anger is an issue that is holding you back from playing your best tennis.

The next step is to take personal responsibility for your performance and take action. Tennis players often ignore this step. They recognize a problem yet fail to find and implement a solution. 

You can’t wish away your anger

There are many ways to counter anger during matches, such as understanding your triggers, recognizing when your emotions flare up in matches, and learning how to refocus on your game.

The key is to hit the emotional reset button between points, and implementing a quick relaxation strategy to calm your mind and body.

When you realize you have the capacity to manage your emotions during matches, you will feel in control of your game and play confident tennis

World number two, Aryna Sabalenka, admitted she had difficulty managing her anger early in her career. Sabalenka realized the only way to take control of play on the court was to work on her mental game.

To help her effectively manage her emotions, Sabalenka made a choice to work with a sports psychologist.

SABALENKA: “I had a psychologist for four or five years. We worked a lot. She helped me a lot. I mean, I guess I was always searching for something which can help me to control myself better.”

Ultimately, Sabalenka understood she was responsible for her performance and needed to change her game. 

Sabalenka’s work away from the court helped her improve her mental toughness and was vital in starting the 2024 season strong and winning the Australian Open.

SABALENKA: “At the end the only one thing that helped me is just myself, just stop expecting people to fix my problems, start fixing my problems by myself. I think that’s brought much more confidence and much more control.”

Managing your emotions is within your control and is a skill that will improve your consistency. Prioritizing your mental game is a game-changer!

The first step in managing your emotions is recognizing common situations that spark your anger–your triggers.

When you know your triggers, you want to learn a better reaction to each trigger, such as “I’m not perfect. Mistakes are part of tennis. Move on as I can’t get it back.”

Changing old automatic scripts in your head takes time to develop but will lead to staying calmer on the court.

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Improve Your Mental Game for Tennis

Tennis Confidence 2.0

Tennis Confidence 2.0

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