Tennis Concentration and Match Focus

Tennis Psychology

Increasing Match Concentration And Focus

I’m often contacted by tennis parents and players about lack of concentration or focus during matches. I try to explain that concentration can be affected by various mental game or tennis issues.

Yes, sometimes, you might lose your concentration during the match, but it’s more likely that you lost focus because you got frustrated or tightened up during an important point, for example.

I received the following tennis psychology question from a tennis parent about his son’s concentration during matches:

“How do I help my child increase concentration and focus on the ball? My kid continuously makes mistakes during a rally as well as hitting an easy ball when she should force her opponent in to hit a difficult ball.”

While you might think this is a focus issue, many issues with her mental game might be the culprit, such as fear of making mistakes, playing defensively, or too much tension. All of these mental game of tennis issues are interrelated.

Fear of failure is a common mental challenge for tennis players. Tennis players may be afraid to make mistakes, embarrass themselves or not want to disappoint a parent. They are essentially afraid of what happens when they lose as far as how they will be perceived by others. They may have low self-confidence, crave social approval or attach their self-worth to their performance.

Tennis players who are afraid of making mistakes may play more defensively and become tense.

When players are tense and play more defensively, they do not go for their shots, but try to just get the ball back. They may hit the ball down the middle or go for high percentage shots.

Trying too hard to hit the big winner may also be the culprit. On easy shots, some players try too hard to hit the perfect shot and then tighten up and lose their trust.

As for the concentration issue, your child may experience internal or external distractions. When athletes are distracted externally, they are usually distracted by something in the environment, such as a coach on the fence, a ball rolling on the court or a player on the next court.

External distractions are usually easier to block out.

You can tell your tennis player to focus on what will help her get the job done.

Internal distractions are harder to get out of your mind and refocus.

This may include negative thinking, doubts, worrying about the next point or thinking about the last mistake. The best option is to teach your kids how to refocus when they are distracted on the court. Every tennis player will get distracted at some point.

They key is to recognize that you are distracted and refocus quickly on the next point.

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If you’re not performing up to your potential in matches, most likely your mental game is holding you back. Are you so frustrated with your performance you feel like giving up? Does your confidence evaporate when you play in tournaments? Are you tired of working hard in practice and not getting any results in matches?

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