When You Need a Time off to Refocus


Preparing Yourself for Peak Performance

Do you sometimes become overwhelmed during a long season?

Training, practicing, and competing take a lot of physical effort and emotional energy. The grind during the season can wear down many tennis players.

The stress of being an athlete can be challenging. Many times, your life revolves around your tennis schedule…

Doing homework after practice, eating dinner late, having competitions on the weekend, vacationing only during the offseason, and having a limited social life are significant sacrifices and a lot of stress.

When you add in the pressure to perform and deal with poor performances, you can feel burnt out.

One tennis play from our Mental Game of Tennis Survey reached out to us with the following concern:

“I put way too much pressure on myself to win. I feel overwhelmed when I lose and think about quitting. Sometimes, I just want the season to be over. How can I take some of the pressure off myself?”

Throughout the season, you will experience some level of pressure or stress being an athlete. You put a lot of time and energy into your sport and make sacrifices to perform the best you can. When you under perform, training can feel like a waste.

You wonder, “Why am I even putting myself through all this. It’s not worth all the time and effort.” You feel worn out and maybe even a bit burnt out.

When your life revolves around sport, your personal and athletic lives will experience increased stress levels. Taking a physical or mental break from the grind can alleviate some of your stress.

Taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean taking a season off or completely abandoning training.

You can release stress with a mental break by tending to your personal needs. Taking care of yourself off the court is as beneficial as putting in the work on the court.

In other words, when practice or competition is over, focus on something other than tennis. Being in “athlete-mode” 24 hours a day will wear you down personally and athletically.

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu, who won the US Open in 2019, announced she is taking a break from competing. Andreescu plans to sit out the start of next season, including the 2022 Australian Open.

Andreescu stated that she wants to “reset, recover, and grow” after a stressful 2021.

ANDREESCU: “A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders I want to give myself extra time to reset, recover, and grow from this (as cliche as that sounds) I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season.”

Andreescu felt drained because she was in “athlete mode” most of the season. The train, eat and compete cycle leads to burnout. You sometimes need to take a break to refresh and reset. Little breaks from being an athlete can be enough to break the monotony and help you athletically and personally.

How to Switch ‘Roles’ After Tennis

Be sure to leave the tennis on the tennis court after a match or practice. No need to take it home each day.

After practice or play, remind yourself that “practice is over” or “shift gears.” Enter a new role in your life such as student, son, daughter, or parent. Try not define yourself through your tennis performance.

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