Jelena Ostapenko: Trusting Your Strokes

Trusting Your Game

How to Trust Your Tennis Game

Trust in your skills is a must for your tennis game…

Trust in your conditioning… Trust in your ability to tough out challenging circumstances… Trust in your ability to compete against strong competition… Trust in your ability to make shots with over thinking.

Trusting your strokes allows you to remain aggressive and go for shots. Trust allows you to keep fighting no matter the score. Trust keeps you focused on the current point because trust gives you the confidence needed to win that point.

When you lack trust in your game, difficult match circumstances can cause you to tighten up and short stroke your swings in the middle of a match. Without trust, you can’t play near your peak.

Take this little test to gauge your level of trust in your tennis game:

  • When a match runs long, do you trust you have what it takes to finish strong?
  • When you are down a set, are you confident in your ability to come back?
  • When you have made a few unforced errors, do you continue to play aggressive and swing freely to your target?
  • When you are playing a highly contested match, do you trust in your ability to make critical shots?

Trust was the key to victory for 20 year-old Jelena Ostapenko who beat Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the French Open for her first Grand Slam title.

Despite hitting fifty-four errors (more than four times as many as Halep), Ostapenko stayed aggressive, raced for the ball and went for winners.

Wow, 54 unforced errors! That really going for it!

Even after losing the first set and being down 3-Love in the second set, Osatapenko stayed focused and Continued to go after her shots with full trust.

OSTAPENKO: “I was losing 6-4, 3-0, and then in my mind I was just, I’m just going to enjoy the match, and I will try to fight until the last point.”

Instead of becoming mentally worn down by overthinking and ruminating about unforced errors, Ostapenko stayed present on each shot, just hit the ball and looked for opportunities to hit winners.

Trust allows you to stay in the game mentally and see opportunities as they unfold.

Where did this level of trust come from? Well, it’s not just how Ostapenko plays, it’s how she practices.

OSTAPENKO: “I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard… if I have a chance to go for a shot, I’m trying, and it’s quite helpful [strategy]. It’s just the way I play.”

And that trust paid off for Ostapenko helping her become the first unseeded player to win the French Open in the Open era and the youngest player to win a Slam in more than a decade.

How to develop trust in your game:

Trust requires that you train your body to act in a certain way and train your mind to act in that same way when the pressure is on.

So, you must practice with a purpose. Create small practice goals for each practice session.

When you step on the match court, you have to feel relaxed enough to go for your shots instead of push the ball.

Most players will tighten up under pressure and not hit out on the ball. They protect from make the error. Instead you want to use the shots you worked on in practice no matter if you miss.

*Subscribe to The Tennis Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Tennis Psychology Podcast on Spotify

Improve Your Mental Game for Tennis

Tennis Confidence 2.0

Tennis Confidence CD

Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players” is Dr. Cohn’s program to help tennis players, coaches, and instructors improve the mental game of tennis is just 8 easy to learn sessions. Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players Audio and Workbook program is ideal for any junior, collegiate, and tour professional player. Tennis coaches and instructors would also be wise to teach the strategies in “Tennis Confidence 2.0.”

Tennis Confidence is a complete mental training program developed Dr. Cohn. You learn the same strategies Dr. Cohn teaches his personal students to help them improve mental toughness and consistency – from managing unrealistic expectations to coping with perfectionism. 

Read more about Tennis Confidence Program>>

Leave a Comment