Control What you can Control
How have you been sidelined due to the coronavirus?
Do you feel there is anything you can do while “stuck” at home?
What kind of sport-specific changes have you made to make the best of the situation?
The coronavirus has been taking a toll on athletes throughout the world. Fear and anxiety are the two predominant feelings experienced by tennis players.
Fear of losing scholarships, sponsorships, income opportunities, playing time and training, on top of the fear associated with the coronavirus pandemic, increase the mental stress experienced by tennis players.
Processing the coronavirus has been troublesome to say the least. When you are dealing with the unknown (when will you be able to compete again and under what circumstances), stress and fear become the dominant thoughts in your mind.
When you do not have a constructive outlet for pent-up energy, the problems associated with the coronavirus escalate.
In our Mental Game of Tennis Survey, a tennis player summed up her fear in two sentences,
“Thinking about tennis, now that I have been away from playing, makes me so anxious. What if I never get back to the level I once played?”
Anxiety takes a toll on you mentally and physically. When you experience anxiety, you feel worn down, lethargic and tense. You, also, feel out of shape and question if you will ever regain your previous level of play. Even holding a racquet in your hand feels uncomfortable and awkward.
You feel “off” mentally as well. You feel anxious and less motivated. You no longer feel like the confident player you were prior to the stay-at-home mandate. It is hard to get into a day-to-day routine, let alone working out at home.
The source of anxiety is the result of trying to control factors that are outside of your control.
When you are faced with a long layoff due to circumstances beyond your control, such as injury, loss of playing time or a virus such as COVID-19, you can regain control by being patient, persistent and maintaining a positive attitude.
Former No. 1, Naomi Osaka, was looking forward to competing in the 2020 Olympics before the cancellation of the games due to the coronavirus.
OSAKA: “I’ve been thinking about how to articulate my thoughts on this for a couple of days now, so here goes. Everyone knows how much the Olympics means to me and how proud I will be to participate in my home country [Japan]. Of course, I am disappointed that [the Olympics] won’t happen this year, but we’ll all be ready to go stronger than ever in 2021.”
Osaka acknowledged her disappointment of the Olympic postponement, but she was able to process her circumstances and focus on being ready when tennis restarts.
You may not be able to control the coronavirus pandemic, the scheduling of the season, practicing with your team or where you practice, but you can feel empowered by focusing on what you can control: your attitude and your mental preparation.
What things can you control and what are the things you cannot control right now?
Ask yourself the following questions to process your circumstances:
1. What am I worried about?
2. Are these aspects outside of my control?
3. What can I SPECIFICALLY do to regain control?
4. How will these controllable aspects help my tennis game?
Focusing on the things you can control takes anxiety out of the equation.
Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“We are amazed at how much ‘The Confident Athlete’ program has helped my niece play her best tennis during matches. She literally made it to the farthest round of a tournament (semifinals) after finishing the CDs and workbook. We are going to do all 3 in the series.”
~Jason Bourguignon, Uncle
“So far the program has been going really well! My son is doing the workbook and listening to the audio part and has been enjoying it! He has played better the past couple of weeks and he said the program is helping him focus and not get quite so frustrated.”
~Tara Mariano, Sports Parent