How to Have Stable Confidence in Tennis

Tennis Psychology
Stable Confidence in Tennis

Confidence can be fragile for many tennis players.

Does a significant loss always result in lower confidence? How has your confidence been affected in the past after a major loss?

Losses are tough to take and can be a big blow to your ego. The sting of a loss is even greater when you are expected to win or play in a big-time tournament.

When you lose, you have to deal with a tally mark in the loss column and the negative emotions associated with the loss.

What is meant by high confidence?

Confidence exists along a continuum. You can think of the endpoints as zero and 100. However, no player is totally devoid of confidence. When a player says, “I have no confidence,” they really mean they have low confidence.

Likewise, no one has a confidence level of 100. High confidence exists within a range, for example, 70-80, 80-90, or 85-95, depending upon the athlete.

Confidence and Professional Tennis Players

When we watch the best tennis players in the world, we assume they always are 100 percent confident. After all, how can someone win match after match and maintain a ranking within the Top 100 in the world without perfect confidence?

Let’s dismiss that misconception right away. Pro players don’t win every match, nor are they 100 percent confident, 100 percent of the time.

Even the pros struggle with confidence at times. A dip in confidence is a normal reaction to poor play. However, just because your confidence may dip, you can still stay within your optimal confidence range. But that requires actively fueling your confidence.

Rafael Nadal is one of the best players to ever have stepped foot on a tennis court. But even Nadal admits he needs to work to maintain his confidence.

NADAL: “As much as people think that I always have confidence, it’s not like that. When things go wrong, I often see it very black. But this is the essence of sport, that although the possibilities are minimal and it seems impossible, you keep fighting… When things go wrong, I analyze, and I look for solutions.”

Nadal has stable confidence by focusing on finding solutions when he is not on top of his game. By focusing on solutions, Nadal maintains a sense of control over his game. In other words, when you think you have the power to control or improve your game, you keep your confidence in the high confidence range.

Stable confidence demands that you take control of your confidence.

After a match, you assess and look for solutions to improve. Then you work on those mental, emotional, technical, or tactical aspects of your game.

Keep Your Confidence Stable. Confidence is a long-term project for tennis players. The first step to having confidence is to challenge your beliefs.

Is it possible to be confident after a loss? What does it mean to me to be highly confident? Can I still play sound tennis at the lower end of my high-confidence range?

If you have fragile confidence, what beliefs lead you to losing confidence quickly after a loss?

Managing your expectations about wins and your performance helps keep confidence high and stable.

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