Mental Strategies to Stay Focused
Have you ever lost a tennis match after leading by a set or lost a set after being up 4-1?
Recall a match where you had a significant lead only to unravel and lose the match…
You were probably just playing the game as you built your lead…
When you realized you had the lead, that’s when you changed your mindset. You began to think of the consequences of losing points, losing the lead or losing the match.
Many players begin to focus on not making mistakes. They fear losing the lead…
You might even play tentatively. Instead of going for winners, you just try to put the ball in play making it easy for your opponent to attack.
Slowly, you lost the lead and confidence sank. The is a common mental game error tennis players make.
What is the main reason a tennis player loses a match after having a big lead?
The main reason for losing a lead in a tennis match is when you protect your lead and play too safe or conserve.
When you change your mindset from aggressive tennis and winning points to “not losing points,” you play too defensive and give your opponent momentum.
By focusing on keeping your lead and not making mistakes, you sabotage your game.
You got a lead by looking for opportunities to hit winners, by being aggressive and by being confident and taking risks.
But losing a lead is caused by focusing on fear:
- fear of making mistakes
- fear of losing the match
- fear of failing or fear of what people might think if you choke
What’s “mindset” to finish the match strong?
The best way to win points is to focus on what’s working and stick with it.
Focusing on what’s working requires letting go of mistakes (bad shots, unforced errors, misjudged returns) and sticking with the strategy that helped you acquire the lead (staying loose, going for it on each shot without thinking of the possible end result).
If your match strategy is working, why change it? Stick with the mindset that created the lead.
Of course, you will inevitably make some mistakes despite having the lead. Mistakes are not an indication that you are about to unravel.
Just re-focus on that strategy that has been producing points and go for the next point.
Remind yourself that playing defensively only results in giving your opponent momentum.
Focus on what you want… hitting deep shots, for example. Remind yourself of the strategy that helped you get the lead.
When in the lead, play more aggressive, not defensively, and try to finish the point quickly. Take advantage of the momentum you have and finish strong!
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