Mental Strategies to Control Your Emotions in Matches
Do your emotions get the best of you during a match especially when not hitting shots like you normally do?
Do find it hard to recover after a bad call or lost point due to frustration or anger?
Negative emotions eat up your mental energy and can drain your strength that is needed later in a match.
Has this ever happened to you:
You are playing a set point and you catch your opponent out of position…
All you have to do is hit the ball over the net into the open court to win the set, but instead, you hit it right into the net…
You can feel the anger and frustration build inside and you end up blowing the match.
Tennis is a game of emotion, but it doesn’t have to dictate your level of play.
The act of missing easy shots is not the cause of frustration–it’s only the trigger.
The real culprit is your reaction to the miss hit, not the miss hit itself. The players I work with have a tough time with this idea…
The ability to let go of past points will improve your consistency on the court and help you achieve more of your potential.
What is emotional control?
Emotion control can be defined as your ability to let go of mishaps and mistakes from the past quickly so you can play on with composure.
Essentially, emotional control means that you are in charge on the court, not your emotions.
Effective emotional control involves coping with your feelings as soon as possible to minimize distraction and energy loss.
Therefore, emotion control is crucial to your success in tennis.
How to deal with emotions?
Think of how a pilot deals with emotion in crisis situations…
A pilot doesn’t wallow in negative emotions…
A pilot focuses solely on the task at hand. He focuses on what he needs to do to deal with the situation effectively and objectively.
Your job on the tennis court is to win the current point, not to dwell on the miss hit or bad shot.
After a point is finished, win or lose, let it go and move on. I know, easy to say but hard to do for most players.
When you get angry with yourself about the last point, ask yourself:
Is this helping me play the next point?
Between points and sets are valuable opportunities to regain your composure and refocus on the next point.
Having a post-point and pre-point routine is an excellent way to handle the frustration. For example, before you step up the the service line or to return the serve, make sure you committed to playing the next point.
Try these tips to improve your emotional management skills:
- Tip #1: Learn how to let go of the frustration in practice and then in matches. Give yourself a mental time out when you get upset and then a personal pep talk. You are the only one who can turn off the frustration.
- Tip #2: Use your towel or focus on your strings to trigger the end of one point and the start of the next. Think of Sharapova’s routine between points. She’s separating the last point from the next point she’s about to play by keeping her back to the court.
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- How your mind can be your best or worst asset on the court.
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