Focus On Your Tennis Game
What strategy did you use when you played your best tennis match? What were you focused on when you played your worst matches?
Knowing how your focus impacted your performance will provide the key to unlock optimal play for future matches.
The big issue for some tennis players is a misplaced focus. These tennis players get into trouble when they take the focus off themselves and their game.
Have you ever got trapped in focusing on your opponent’s ranking, the physical strength of your opponent or trying to project a false sense of confidence to your opponent?
When you focus on your opponent, you voluntarily give them control to dictate the action of the court.
Why would any tennis player give an advantage to their opponent?
If you want to gain an edge and play to the best of your abilities, you must focus on your game, your strengths and your pre-match strategy.
By taking back your focus and placing it on your game, you put yourself in the best position to win matches.
Milos Raonic won his eighth ATP title beating top-seeded Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 at the Brisbane International. Raonic, ranked No. 14, is looking to break into the top five this year by staying focused on his game.
Raonic learned from last year when he was focused on how his opponent’s perceived him.
Raonic never wanted to show weakness or allow his opponent’s to see him sweat… but this strategy forced Raonic to focus on his opponent’s game instead of focusing on his strengths, his match strategy and what he needed to do to play his best tennis.
Case in point, at 2-1 in the second set of this year’s Brisbane International, Raonic sought treatment for a right leg injury that admittedly, last year he would have tried to play through.
RAONIC: “[last year] I would be like, Okay, I don’t want to show that there is anything going on to the other guy.”
This timeout helped Raonic recover enough to hold serve and do what he needed to do to put himself in position to dictate the action in the match.
The result of his “focus-on-his-game” strategy was adding another ATP title to his resume.
RAONIC: “Yeah, it’s a maturity. It’s focusing on what matters rather than what may be perceived… At the end of the day, what I’ve learned [from last year], the most important part is making the guy adjust to me. I’ve got to take care of myself. That gave me a chance to sort of work out that [injury], get relaxed a little bit, and get back to what does Milos need to do to keep going forward in this match.”
Focusing on your opponent’s game is a sure-fire method to lose. The only effective strategy to put you in a position for victory is to be focused on your game.
Tip for Developing a “Focus-on-my-game” Strategy:
Identify the strengths of your game (conditioning, volleying, serving, etc).
Write down your strengths. By seeing your strengths, your confidence will start to grow. Create a match strategy that plays to your strengths.
In your pre-match warm up, visualize yourself executing your plan in the match.
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