Mental Game Strategies to Overcome Pressure
When you step on the court for a tennis match, are you overcome by a sense of pressure to succeed?
Does the pressure you place on yourself cause you to perform poorly?
Think of a match that you deemed highly important…
When you were warming up, you could feel uneasiness…
You may have obsessed over the outcome or “need” to win…
You became so focused on the sense of pressure you felt that it caused you to be distracted from your game…
With every mistake, the pressure built up and your performance went down.
Every tennis player experiences some level of pressure, not matter what level you play.
The goal isn’t to try to eliminate pressure but to harness or manage your emotions to allow you to play your best tennis.
Too much anxiety will drain your energy levels, interfere with quick and clear decision making and hinder the fluidity of your strokes.
But a little bit of what-some-may-call “pressure” or excitement (good stress) can challenge, motivate and push you to play optimally.
Petra Kvitov, 24, won her first Wimbledon in 2011 for her first Grand Slam title.
At the 2014 Wimbledon, Kvitov made it back to the finals to face fan-favorite Eugenie Bouchard.
Kvitova had been overwhelmed in previous tournaments by the pressure to succeed following her first Grand Slam victory.
KVITOVA: “I was really up and down after my title here 2011… [but] I was still working hard, believing in myself.”
Competition is tough in the WTA, so Kvitova makes certain to be mentally prepared and on top on her game for each match, especially her 2014 Wimbledon final.
KVITOVA: “I think I’m more working on my mental side to be preparing for the match. I need to be ready 100% because I know that she [Bouchard] going to be tough opponent.”
In a pre-match interview, Kvitova acknowledged that there will be a sense of pressure during the Wimbledon finals but planned to stay focused and immersed in the present moment.
KVITOVA: “I know that the pressure will be there [Wimbledon finals] for myself… but that’s not really important right now.”
Kvitova was able to manage the pressure of finals, focus on her game and dominate Bouchard (6-3, 6-0) for her second career Grand Slam and Wimbledon title.
Kvitova impressive and successful Wimbledon run provides some great lessons on managing pressure and playing great tennis.
Try these tips to manage the pressure of important tennis matches:
Tip #1: You should utilize a consistent pre-match ritual in order to not be over-focused on the match prior to its start.
KVITOVA: “I’m doing always the same. So it’s just practice today, tomorrow I will have a quick warm-up, some lunch, and just wait for my match then.”
Tip #2: You should focus on your game plan and not the strengths of your opponent.
KVITOVA: “Definitely I have to play my game. I mean, I have to use my left serve a lot and to be aggressively. That’s my game. That, I think, can be the key.”
Tip #3: You need to let go of the distractions around you. Focus on your court, not what’s happening in the adjacent court.
KVITOVA: “I’m just there and playing my game. That’s the important [thing] and that’s enough for me.”
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