Mental Toughness

by John Debnam Thinking Tennis

Know your WHY– The ultimate reason you play needs to be your love for the game. Winning is great, but your happiness and well-being is more important than success. Every tennis player goes through times they wonder why they put in all the long hours on the court, particularly if they have not seen tangible results lately. If you are not careful, you can just “go through the motions”. When this happens, make it fun again! DO IT FOR YOU!

Focus on the process, not the outcome. If you keep improving each day, the wins and titles will be the result. As an athlete, if you can improve even 1% in any area of your game each day, remember that is a “win” for you as a player. Think about where you will be in 100 days! If you only focus on winning tournaments or matches, your mind will be in the future instead of the present moment. This is an important mentality to have as a player as well as an important match mentality. Play one point at a time. Play every point like it’s match point, and let the results take care of themselves.

Don’t worry about what other people think. Only focus on yourself and the goals you have. Too many people get caught up with “people pleasing” and trying to impress family, friends, coaches and teammates.

Control the things you can control. Only focus on the things you can control and don’t preoccupy yourself with things you can’t – it’ll only frustrate you! You cannot control the weather, bad line calls, or your opponents style of play. Here are the things you can control

EFFORT- 100% all the time winning or losing. You should run for every ball, every point, no matter what. The score should not matter. Be the hardest worker on the team.

ATTITUDE- positive and composed regardless of circumstances. The best tennis players have the same composure whether they are winning or losing. Walk in between points with your head held high, have a bounce in your step, believe that you can win every point.

Forgive yourself quickly. Use mistakes as a learning opportunity and make sure to cut yourself some slack. Mistakes are inevitable, and the best way to forget about one is to make up for it on the next play. But you can’t move forward if you’re still worried about the past. Spend at least 90% of your time on the solution (how to improve) and no more than 10% on the problem (why did it happen?). If you miss a shot, quickly diagnose if it was a technical error, a shot selection error, or a mental error. Say to yourself what you will do next time that situation presents itself.

Leave a comment