Hi there and welcome to Playing Mentally Tough Tennis !
We’ve developed this site as a response to the popular demand from adult players looking for specific mental toughness support…
So if you’re an adult player of any standard looking to develop the competitive edge on the court then you’ve come to the right place.
You’ll also find that the information and advice we provide will also be relevant to helping you improve the skills that will support performance effectiveness and healthy personal relationships in other domains such as work and at home.
We’ll provide a variety of Free adult player specific materials including articles, activities, videos, quotes, and links to useful resources all designed to best support you…
Enjoy the site!
When Marco Cecchinato was down 2 sets to 0 against Marius Copil and fighting for survival during a tight 3rdset in the 1stround of the French Open I wonder if he ever imagined, having never won a Grand Slam match, the possibility of what might lay ahead if he could find a way to scrape out a victory.
My guess is probably not…
But 9 days later, he is still standing as the 1stItalian man to make a Grand Slam semi-final since 1978 after defeating Novak Djokovic in another amazingly gutsy effort.
His life changing run is a strong reminder of an often overlooked keys to tennis success….
When we play a match, our brain usually has two main goals:
2. Not Lose
These may seem like the same thing, but they’re not.
Winning brings joy; not losing brings relief. Winning requires taking calculated risks in order to hit quality shots; not losing means attempting to avoid mistakes in order to avoid the pain of losing.
The other day I was watching a 10-and-under match where the young boys were giving it their all.
There were ‘c’mons!’ and fist pumps after good shots, and arms thrown up in disappointment after close misses. There were rallies that I never thought would end. One of the boys hit a net-cord to win the match, yelled out ‘yes!’ followed quickly by ‘sorry’, and the boy who lost had a quivering bottom lip as he left the court carrying a racquet bag nearly as big as him.
Later, I was watching a Senior men’s match that was very different. One of the players
For many years my goal was to eliminate the conscious, thinking mind from the act of playing tennis. ‘Don’t think’ was my mantra, as I believed that the conscious mind only interfered with the all-powerful, automatic unconscious mind who instinctively knew how to play great tennis without effort. I followed the formula invented by Timothy Gallwey (The Inner Game of Tennis), ‘Performance = Potential – Interference’.
Now, I subscribe to a slightly different philosophy…
I still believe that the unconscious mind is super important to helping me play good tennis: allowing my body to automatically see, move to, and hit a tennis ball flying towards me faster than 100 kilometres per hour, and often doing it very well. However, left entirely to its own devices the unconscious mind doesn’t improve quickly. It does learn gradually through repetition, but it takes a lot of mindless swings for it to figure out how to hit a particular shot more efficiently.
What a rollercoaster!
And a classic case study for how in vital ways the field of sport psychology has set coaches, parents, and players up for failure when it comes to developing long-term mental toughness. But to understand why this is so, I need first to summarize the match and Federer’s experience of it.
Part 1- Federer’s Pre-Match Jitters
It was refreshing to hear Federer talk about how difficult he found the build up to the final.
He said, “Well I think my thoughts were all over the place all day, I was thinking what if I lost how horrible it would be to lose it, what if I won, it’s a late match start so I thought about this all day, I was so nervous going into this match.”
Part 2- Federer Looks To Make It An Early Night