Self-Induced Pressure Affects Metal Game


Finding Balance as a Tennis Player

Do you want to accomplish more in the sport of tennis? Do you have big dreams of big achievements?

You probably have dedicated a lot of time and effort to the sport of tennis…

You have watched the majors and emulated the practices of tennis champions. You listened intently to top-ranked players for tips to improve your game. You attended clinics trying to grow your game and gain an edge over the competition.

You have spent time and money working with private coaches.

During family dinner, tennis is the primary topic of conversation. You sacrificed your social life to train. You may even have worked with a mental game coach to cover all aspects of performance. Tennis is your life.

All of these elements can raise your level of play.

Why is it that some players fall short of their potential with all these hours and hours of time and effort?

We received a question from Amy T., a high school player who responded to our Mental Game of Tennis Survey?

“I’ve tried everything to get to the next level. I switched to a more competitive club, practiced on my own several hours a week, and worked with a trainer to build my strength and agility. But I am stuck at the same level. Tennis is my life, and the more I do, the worse I get. Am I missing something? Please help!”

I can understand your frustration. You want to see a greater return on your efforts but feel stuck. I have seen this often happen in the sport.

The primary issue revolves around pressure. The more you do, the more pressure you put on yourself to perform. For example: 

“I’ve worked on my strength and conditioning all season, I shouldn’t get so tired during matches,”

“I practice against better players, I should be able to beat higher-ranked opponents,” or “I worked so much harder this year, I should be playing better.”

Excessive pressure wears you down. When tennis takes over your life, performance decreases.

Balance is essential. Tennis should not be your life. Tennis is part of your life. When you walk off the court, you need to switch off athlete-mode.

WTA player Bianca Andreescu has risen as high as No. 4 in the world. For the past few years, Andreescu has suffered the effects associated with the all-encompassing tennis mentality. Andreescu won the 2019 U.S. Open the first time she played but has seen her play decline due to injuries, inconsistency, and excessive pressure.

ANDREESCU: “I think with anything you’re passionate about, it’s always a love/hate relationship because you want that thing so bad all the time, you want to be perfect.” 

As you notice, even professional players need to maintain balance to consistently play at a high level and feel mentally and physically energized throughout a season.

Instead of tennis predominating your day, you should engage in other areas of your life. By developing yourself as a whole and having a life outside of the sport of tennis.

How to Manage Self-Induced Pressure

1. Put tennis in perspective. Tennis is a game that you do and does not define you as a person.

2. Take holistic care of yourself. Your life should be bigger than tennis.

3. Be mindful of the expectations you put on your game when you are working harder to succeed.

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