Managing Your Pressure in Tennis
Winning often raises the bar for tennis players. With increased success on the court, expectations also increase.
The sentiment is often, “Well, you won it last year, so you will play at the same level or even better.” You are expected to win matches from the previous year and win the same tournaments.
The pressure experienced by some athletes after a great season causes many players to take a giant step backward.
Not only do you feel expectations of others (parents, coaches, teammates, friends, etc.) but the expectations you have for yourself are also high.
More expectations lead tennis players to under perform because expectations equal pressure.
When you were playing at your best during a training season, pressure was probably at a minimum…
You won matches that no one expected you to win. You went out on the court and just gave it your all and playing in the moment. Your excitement grew, as well as your belief, as you started winning sets that no one expected you to win.
When you play with that “nothing-to-lose” mindset, you feel no pressure and you perform closer to your peak.
Managing the pressure and keeping expectations in perspective are the keys to continued success in tennis.
But there are many times in professional tennis where we see top-ranked players succumb to pressure of high expectations.
Angelique Kerber took over the No. 1 ranking from Serena Williams last year but has not played like the top woman’s player in the world.
In fact, Kerber lost in the first round of the French Open to 40th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova 2-6, 2-6 becoming the first woman seeded No. 1 to lose in the French Open’s first round in the professional era.
Kerber, who won the Australian Open and U.S. Open, and was the Wimbledon runner-up, has crumbled under the weight of high expectations and increased pressure. This year, Kerber has a 19-13 record and has lost 4 of her past 6 matches.
Kerber felt her performance suffered due to the excessive expectations she placed upon herself.
KERBER: “This year, the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams – and the expectations are also from me really big, of course, because I know what I can do, what I did last year… Right now, I think that I have to find to myself again and just trying to forget the clay court season as soon as possible, and then reset and start from the grass courts again.”
Excessively high expectations take your focus away from just playing the game of tennis and push your mind into worrying about possible future outcomes.
You cannot play at your peak in the present when your mind is worried about the future.
How to Manage Expectations:
First, identify what expectations you are feeling for an upcoming match. These might be about results or your performance every point.
Next, ask yourself if playing with these expectations are helpful or help you focus on playing one point at a time? If not throw them out…
Replace these expectations with small objectives when you perform, such as to plan and visualize a good serve or to trust your the stroke you have been practicing in training.
Are you (or your players) performing up to your ability in competition?
Do you bring your best and most confident game to matches?
I often hear players complain about the following problems when they play in matches…
- “I get so tight or tense before matches that I can’t think straight or have any rhythm in my game.”
- “I expect so much when I play that I unravel and lose confidence when the match does not go as planned.”
- “My confidence seems to disappear when I go from practice to matches and I don’t know why.”
- “I get so frustrated with hitting bad shots or with errors and it snowballs.”
Successful tennis players have learned how to perform with ultimate confidence in tournaments.
If you are ready to improve your mental toughness and perform with ultimate self-confidence in matches, Tennis Confidence: Mental Toughness For Tournament Players can help you do this!
- Players: Learn how to take control of your confidence, focus your best, and win more close matches.
- Instructors: Learn how to give your students the mental game advantage.
- Coaches: Boost your team’s confidence using simple, proven mental strategies.
- Parents: Help boost your junior tennis player’s confidence for tournaments. Just load the program on your player’s IPod!
Use Tennis Confidence to help boost your mental toughness in tennis and discover powerful and proven mental game strategies that have helped professional athletes win!
What are mental game customers saying?
“Dr. Cohn did a great job working with my son Joe on his mental skills for tennis. He taught him the mental skills and discipline necessary to move to the next level. Thanks Doc!”
~Mike Withers, Joe Withers Father
“Maggie had such a great weekend. As always, after she works with you she just seems more grounded and focused. She’s less likely to look around and get distracted during her match. She’s more focused on one point at a time. Also, as a parent, I’ve learned to encourage her process goals and not outcomes. Consequently, she played well and won her first doubles match, upsetting a seeded team in a really really close match!”
~Katherine Johnson Cannata, Maggie’s mother
Download Our Free Tennis Psychology Report!
Discover if you are making one or more of these “costly” unforced mental game errors during matches!
Download our free Tennis Psychology Report:
- How your mind can be your best or worst asset on the court.
- If you are using your mind effectively between points.
- One strategy that can help you let of go the last point.
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Click here to download your FREE report today: Six Unforced ‘Mental Game’ Errors Tennis Players Make Between Points
What are other mental game coaches saying?
“Since you last worked with AJ in early September, his National ranking has improved from 349 to 148. His tournament record at one point, since talking with you was 17-4, with 3 of the 4 being in third sets or tiebreakers and 2 of those matches being the same player, whom he has since beaten (you may recall he was on an 0-9 losing streak when we contacted you). His tie-breaker record is at least 90% through last weekend when he won the 18s District tournament with a semi and final match tiebreak win. Your help has definitely improved AJ’s results and his on-court demeanor has substantially improved.”
~Dawn Woodman, A.J.’s Mother
“I want to let you know that your “Tennis Confidence” CD program has been extremely helpful to me. I listen to the CDs in the car and the program is helping me overcome a lifetime of tournament performance Anxiety. Thank you!”
~Wing Yu, Tennis Player
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 students saying?
“She did really well with controlling her emotions during the matches today. We were very proud of her for not showing her frustrations during the match; I think that was a big accomplishment. She really looked in control of her emotions even when she double faulted or made mistakes. The changes we saw in her behavior in less than 24 hours were AWESOME! Thank you for your guidance!”
~Jennifer, Tennis Parent
“Thank you for all the knowledge, tools, material, and guidance you have given me throughout the MGCP course. It was truly a great experience. I am looking forward to integrating your mental training system to students at the club, as well as to athletes that truly are committed, and strive towards reaching their peak performance.”
~Tim Whitehead, Tennis Coach