Winning The Mental Game Battle

How to Get into a Rhythm When Playing a Tennis Match

Why is Your Mental Game Important?

Tennis is a mental game. You’ve probably at some point in your tennis career lost focus, composure, or had trouble regaining confidence and momentum during a match.

If you’ve struggled with any of these mental challenges, you know how important the mind game of tennis is. The mental game of tennis is important for tennis pros as well.

At the Chennai Open, Marin Cilic experienced the mental grind of a tennis match. Cilic reached the finals only to compete against Stanislas Wawrinka, a player he’s never beaten before on four different occasions. Wawrinka lead the first set 5-3 breaking Cilic’s serve. Cilic then battled back in the first set to even it at 5-5 and ended up pulling out the first set in a tiebreak. In a thrilling 2 hour 40 minute match, Cilic clenched his first victory against Wawrinka winning the title and the match, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3).

”This was the longest final I have played in and also the toughest. It was a mental battle out there with a lot of long rallies and returns. It is not easy to maintain your top game over such a long match. It makes me very proud that I have once again come out well in the first week. It was not easy to adjust to the heat. A lot of sweat and hard work went into winning this week. I am very pleased really, very happy,” said Cilic.

Long, grueling matches can make it difficult to stay patient and focused for the entire match. You might become impatient trying to end the point too quickly. You might focus on your missed chances to win the set. You might question your ability to pull out the match. All of these thoughts don’t help you perform your best.

Maintaining your focus is crucial during long matches. Tiebreakers especially challenge your focus when every point counts.

“The two tiebreaks … it was important for me to win the first one to get the mental advantage as it had a lot of rallies, it had a lot of running, and the match went for almost three hours. It wasn’t easy to maintain yourself on the court all the time mentally and to stay focused,” said Cilic.

When you lose your focus on the match, stop, regroup and refocus on what’s important. You have plenty of time in between points to refocus from distractions. Put the last point behind you and approach the next point as if it were the very first point of the match.

Think of the next point as starting the match without any mistakes. Once you’re ready to play the point, focus on the cues that matter most, such as the placement of your serve or return of serve.

Your Tennis Psychology Tip For Today

Stay patient and pace your focus during long matches. Stay committed to your strategy, focus on what’s important and keep believing in your ability to win the match.

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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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4 thoughts on “Winning The Mental Game Battle”

  1. I have a question. What do you think it happens when you have the upper hand and still loose the game? And you know your are beating yourself. What do you think is happening with my mental focus? Andrew

  2. It might be focus, but it’s usually a result of playing protective when you are in the lead. You start to play safer and try not to lose your lead instead of continue to play aggressively.

    Patrick Cohn

  3. This is what i had in my several competion tennis matches:
    I win the first set very closely. then I lose my concentration in the second and lose. and then lose the third to.
    Its very frustrating that your so close but its still not enough.
    I’m 15 years old and play with men from over the 30’s. Its tough to play against people that old cause they have much experience and they are tougher in rallies.
    Do you have any tips with this?

    ,Thank you

  4. I think the issue has more to do with comfort zones and protecting the lead than focus or confidence. You must continue to play aggressively and not sit on the lead.

    Patrick Cohn

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