Improving Your Mental Game to Overcome Slumps
Many tennis players experience slumps. Slumps occur when you perform poorly for a period of time. Slumps may be short-term, but sometimes they can happen for weeks or maybe even months at a time.
A poor performance at a single tournament wouldn’t be considered a slump, but losing in early rounds for consecutive tournaments would qualify as a slump.
When you’re in a slump, it can be difficult to bounce back mentally. Your confidence takes a hit. You question your ability, mental toughness or ability to compete at a high level.
Your focus turns to past statistics, results and poor performances, leaving you frustrated and angry.
Doubt and negative thinking creep in causing the slump to continue.
Even professional players experience slumps sometimes. Ivan Ljubicic experienced his own kind of slump. He lost five consecutive tournaments in the first round last year. Ljubicic broke through his slump at the BNP Paribas Open last week. He didn’t just make it past the first round, he won the tournament! He outlasted American Andy Roddick 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) to capture the title.
“I felt really creative out there. I played all different shots: lobs, drop shots, volleys, winners, slices. I just felt I could hit the ball anywhere. I was playing the shots that were coming to my mind,” said Ljubicic.
When not performing well during a slump, you might play more tentatively, unsure of your shot selection or placement. When you’re unsure about shot selection or placement, you tighten up leaving a poorly executed shot. To play well, you have to be decisive and use variety in your game, like Ljubicic. Stay committed to your strategy and the results will come.
“It was really a mind game. When you have two big serves, not a lot of rallies happening, it’s a very mental match. I was fortunate enough to be more relaxed by the end of the match,” said Ljubicic about the final match with no service breaks.
Your Tennis Psychology Tip For Today
Focus on improving your game each day instead of match results.
Assess what you can improve on for the next match and set a plan with your coach to make gains.
You’ll want to structure practice to improve specific parts of your game. Continue working on your tennis, your mental game and eventually you will break out of a slump.
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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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“Danielle 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 on Danielle’s behavior in less than 24 hours were AWESOME! Thank you for your guidance!”
~Jennifer Alamo, Tennis Parent
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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!”
~Katherine Johnson Cannata, Maggie’s mother
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