This week's episode of the Tennis Quick Tips podcast is – Adjust Your Attitude to Win in Tennis. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the play button in the media player above. You can also listen and subscribe to this podcast in iTunes by clicking here –Tennis Quick Tips in iTunes – or in Stitcher by clicking here – Tennis Quick Tips in Stitcher.
In TQT 005, I give you a four step process for quickly and easily turning your attitude from a negative one to a positive, winning one during your next tennis match. Here's an edited version of the transcript so you can read up on this tip if you don't have time to listen.
We all know that, as much as it is a physical game, tennis is really a mental game. And if you are not in the best mental place possible during a match, most likely you are going down. So when everything’s going wrong on the tennis court, how do you get positive? Oh, and since it’s the middle of a match, how do you get positive fast? Here are 4 easy steps to follow that will quickly get your head back in the game:
1. Be aware. The biggest part of gaining a positive attitude on the court is recognizing when you have a negative attitude. You know that negativity is not going to win you any points. So you need to be aware of what’s going on in your head and, if it sounds anything like this – “What is wrong with me?” “I’m terrible!” “My partner must hate me!” “Why did I ever think I could play tennis?” “We’re so going to lose this match!” – you need to be aware that those are negative thoughts and they’re not going to help. If anything, they’re actually hurting you.
2. Maintain grace under pressure. There will be many times during a match that things happen that are outside your control. You can play your best tennis ever and still lose to an opponent who is a better player, a luckier player, or who just happens to be having a really great day. For example, just this past week, Roger Federer lost his semifinal match in the German Tennis Championships to Argentinian Qualifier Federico Delbonis. Federer, the defending tournament champ, lost to a qualifier! Do you think he was upset during the match as he realized he was going down? I’m thinking he probably was. But you sure couldn’t tell just by watching the match. Federer is the best example I know of tennis grace under pressure. He keeps his emotions in check and sticks to his game plan. And you need to do the same.
3. Play one point at a time. We’ve all heard that and we may even say it a lot to ourselves during a match. I certainly do. But, honestly, you need to forget about the outcome of the match and focus on what’s happening on the court right now. Even if the whole team is watching from the sidelines. Even if winning this match makes you club champ. Even if you’ve been wanting to kick your opponent’s butt since high school. So stop thinking about the rest of the match and projecting out to some future event that isn’t happening yet. Forget about the outcome. Forget about winning or losing. Just think about how to play the ball that’s right in front of you at this very moment.
4. Look good. That’s right – take a few deep breaths to calm yourself and then . . . just look good. Put a smile on your face and look happy, energetic, alert, and confident. Acting positive and upbeat will make you feel much better and will bring you back from the brink of a mental breakdown. And it will keep you from giving any encouragement to your opponent. Acting as if you’re playing a great match and have no intention of giving up can often deflate the opponent who thought she had already destroyed you. It may even put enough doubt in her mind as to what’s going on to send her over the edge.
And now, I’m going to throw in a bonus Step 5 for all you doubles players:
5. Talk to your partner. Let him know what’s going on in your head. If you have even a half decent partner, he will let you know that its not the end of the world right now and he certainly hasn’t thrown in the towel yet. Communicating with your partner may be all you need to get some positive vibes going on the court.
So, to quickly review, here are your 4 steps to a winning attitude adjustment –
1. Be aware.
2. Play one point at a time.
3. Maintain grace under pressure.
4. Look good.
And your bonus tip number 5 for doubles, talk to your partner.
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Thanks for listening and, as always, Happy Tennis!