How Strong is Your Mental Game?
Kim Clijsters was an unlikely champion at the 2009 U.S. Open defeating Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 6-3 in the final. After a long absence from the game, Clijsters returned to tennis with a new outlook and a new mental game for tennis.
Her mental game was the key to her success in the final match against Wozniacki…
Clijsters played the 2009 US Open with a calm about her. She was composed and did not get rattled after errors. Playing in a major championship, it’s easy for players to think about winning during a match, get over excited, and lose focus. But getting too far ahead of yourself will not help you win the current point. When you focus on winning, you can lose focus on the current point or shot.
Your tennis mind can only focus on one thought at a time. When you fill your might with results, you aren’t focused on hitting the current shot. And when you’re not focused on the current shot, you’re more likely to have a few loose points or make more errors.
Playing in the present moment or playing one point at a time is important to perform your best, especially when you are winning matches. You must focus on the process, rather than what it would mean to win.
Kim Clijsters knew this important task: to not let her mind jump forward to winning the US Open.
“I think I really had to be patient, as well, but also try not to play along with her (Wozniacki’s) game. So I didn’t have that feeling [I could win this match] until, you know, when I had match point. I was like, Okay, maybe I can do this. Because in the past, it’s so easy to just lose focus if you start thinking like that.”
Having confidence you can win a match is a good thing. Thinking too much about winning the match in the final set is not a good thing because it does not help you close out the match.
If you find your mind racing ahead to the results of the match, refocus on the current point instead. Focus on how you will construct the point and play to your strengths.
Your Tennis Psychology Tip For Today
Do not allow your mind to race ahead to winning the match when playing. Instead, focus on the current point or shot. Play one point at a time. Whether you’re winning or losing isn’t important during the match. Focus on your strategy playing each point to the best of your physical ability.
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Six Unforced ‘Mental Game’ Errors Tennis Players Make Between Points
- How your mind can be your best or worst asset on the court.
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“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!”
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