Motivation is Unique to Each Player. Learn How to Motivate Yourself Best
What motivates you to play your best tennis? Motivation is personal. What motivates one tennis player does not provide the same level of motivation for another player.
Athletic motivation fuels your focus, effort, and resolve to overcome adversity. Without a high degree of motivation, a tennis player will give up in tough matches, give less effort during monotonous training, become despondent after losses, and fail to grow as an athlete.
Understanding the sources that motivate and de-motivate you is crucial to achieving your potential as a tennis player.
One potential motivation zapper is naysayers. For instance, one player from our Mental Game of Tennis Needs Survey sent us the following question:
“How do I deal with negative teammates who criticize me?”
Hearing negativity and buying into negativity are two completely different concepts. When you overhear others talking about you, your skill set or ability to win matches is merely noise.
Buying into those words lessens your motivation, breaks your focus, affects your efforts, and interferes with your performance.
However, negative opinions can fuel your motivation. In sports, you often hear the term “bulletin board material.” That phrase refers to turning negative opinions and comments into motivation.
Bulletin board material sparks the thought, “Oh, you don’t think I can. Just watch me!” Positively responding to naysayers fuels your motivation and sharpens your focus, fostering a resolute determination.
One tennis player who has received a lot of negative attention has been Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios has been criticized for his lack of effort, on-court meltdowns, and failure to live up to his potential. Kyrgios finally turned the noise into motivation and played one of his best matches at Wimbledon in his second-round win over Filip Krajinovic 6-2 6-3 6-1.
Kyrgios dominated throughout the match, serving 24 aces.
KYRGIOS: “I just wanted to prove to people that I’m really good, and I feel like I just don’t have the respect sometimes. I really wanted to go out there today and remind everyone that I’m able to play some really good tennis without any distractions.”
How can you stay motivated to play your best tennis?
- Know who you are as an athlete. Other people do not know what you can accomplish. View their comments as noise, not facts.
- Define yourself by your strengths, not by your record. Of course, wins and losses matter. After all, you compete to win. But who you are becoming is more important than the athlete you were yesterday.
- Make confidence a priority. Be proactive in building your confidence daily.
- Trust in your work. You will be prepared for peak play when you work hard and pay attention to the little things.
- Take it one moment at a time. Win the point instead of focusing on winning the tournament. It is easier to stay motivated when you are focused on smaller battles.
- When doubt surfaces, focus on “Nothing will stop me.” You can also add the cue phrase into your warm-up, preservice routine, and practice.
Related Articles for Tennis Focus:
- Stay Mentally Tough During Matches
- How to Assess Your Game After Losing Matches
- How Iga Swiatek Resets After a Bad Match
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