Staying Confident Despite A “Bad” Prematch Warm-Up

Tennis Psychology

Pregame Warm-Up Routines

The warm-up is important prior to a tennis match.

A warm-up gets the blood flowing to the muscles, allows you to get into a rhythm, gets you accustomed to the court conditions.

A warm-up also establishes your timing, provides a feeling for your strikes and moves you into your mindset for competing.

What are the mental traps that arise from a “bad” pre-match warm-up?

Some tennis players think a bad warm-up leads to a bad tennis match.

The problem arises when a tennis player erroneously believes or expects they will perform poorly because they had a “bad” warm-up or their warm-up performance was sub par.

The expectation of poor performances often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you expect you will be off your game because you didn’t serve well in warm-up, you will probably hold back in the match.

You won’t aggressively go for your first serve.

Your negative expectation will cause you to not trust your strokes.

You will play apprehensively and not go for shots that you normally would make.

What is a successful warm-up?

Remember, the goal of warm-up is to prepare, not to predict.

To be honest, the only way you can have a bad warm-up is if you stood still, hit zero practice shots and were focused on everything other than your upcoming match.

If you went through your normal physical and mental preparation… focusing on the process of warming up instead of the quality of your practice shots… then warm-up was successful.

Your opponent doesn’t get extra points for winning the warm-up battle.

You and your opponent begin the match at the same starting point, so there is no need to sweat and fret the warm-up.

How to focus after a “bad” warm-up?

  • Understand the purpose of a warm-up and don’t allow your warm-up dictate your match play. Commit to not letting it faze you.
  • Stop labeling things as “good” or “bad.” Labeling an event forms expectations. If you label a warm-up as “bad,” most likely, you will expect to perform poorly.
  • Get rid of the “if, then” statements. Realize the past does not predict the future.
  • Know that once the match starts, your focus will kick in and you will perform better.
  • Have that inner confidence that you can flip the switch and turn it on when the match begins.

Bonus tips after a “bad” warm-up:

  • You should enter the warm-up with the simple goal of physically and mentally preparing for competition. Eliminate all judgments and analysis of your performance during warm-up.
  • You can keep your confidence high by recalling times where you played at your peak after a bad warm-up.

Successful tennis players have learned how to perform with ultimate confidence in tournaments. We’ve developed Tennis Confidence: Mental Toughness For Tournament Players to help you do this.

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