Stay Mentally Tough During Matches

Use Mental Toughness to Fight Through Challenges

On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your mental toughness? How often do you work on mental toughness? Regularly, occasionally, rarely, or never?

A large component of your performance is grounded in mental toughness. Mental toughness is your ability to fight through challenging circumstances and play your best tennis in competition.

If you rate yourself low on mental toughness, most likely you rarely work on your mental game.

A tennis player from our Mental Game of Tennis Survey asked the following question:

“How do I stay mentally tough during matches?”

You have a choice in tough matches. You can respond with frustration, anger and resignation or you can choose to compete for every point regardless of the score.

You also have a choice in practice. You can choose to work on your mental toughness in training sessions or you can choose to leave your mental game to chance.

Practice and mental toughness have a direct relationship. As one increases so does the other. Mental toughness is a skill. You can’t just hope to play mentally tough, just like you can’t hope to have a powerful serve without repeatedly working on your serve in practice.

Mental toughness requires training with a purposeful plan. Mental toughness and performance also have a direct relationship. As you develop greater mental toughness, your game consistency improves.

Even when you are not playing with your “A” game, mental toughness will give you the focus and fighting mentality to persist on the court.

At the 2021 Miami Open, No. 12 seed, Garbiñe Muguruza won eight straight matches in dramatic fashion, coming back from a set down to defeat Anna Kalinskaya, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

MUGURUZA: “I felt I didn’t bring my best tennis on court, but I brought my fighting spirit and I could match the level of fighting against Anna, and very happy to go through these tough matches. Doesn’t matter if you play pretty or ugly, you stay strong and you go through these rounds.”

You may not have your best tennis on the court one day. That’s okay, it happens. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. You can rely on your mental toughness to keep battling one point at a time.

Too often, players think that they must play their best to win matches, and this might not be the case.

How to Stay Mental Tough:

When muscles are put to the test, those muscles grow. The same is true of your mental toughness muscles. When your mental toughness is put to the test, you have the opportunity to grow your mental toughness further.

To maintain a fighting spirit when you are not on top of your game, ask yourself, “How would a mentally tough tennis player respond in this situation?”

When you learn how to grind out a match when down or making mistakes, you grow your mental toughness. Always remind yourself to try to win one point at a time until the match is over.

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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>>

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