Tennis is Mental too

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8 keys to Mentally Tough Tennis

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Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. You just clipped your first slide! Any closed motor skill that is required frequently during a sporting context could and should have a routine used beforehand. Due to the skill being closed — and therefore far more predictable than open skills — the athletes will always have at least a few seconds before attempting the action. In our experience having delivered over months worth of tailored sport psychology services since 20o5, it is not usual for athletes of target based sports to think of the moment before one of these closed motor skills as a special opportunity.

With the construction or improvement of any Pre Shot Routine there is one main rule — only include easily repeatable actions. In other words, the only premeditated aspects of the routines are body movements of some kind. Thoughts and feelings are simply left to occur naturally at the time and should not be included in the official routine steps.

1. Envision Being Strong

Intended actions are far more reliable than thoughts and feelings. In fact, they are so reliable that we can — with a little practice — call them controllable or guaranteeable. Thoughts and feelings — on the other hand — regardless of how much we try and want them to — will never be controllable. At best, thoughts and feelings are influenceable at certain times. We can never guarantee being able to think a certain way in certain situations and trying to is fraught with danger from a psychological point of view. I will explain what I mean via a few examples. I apologise if your sport is not included in these, I have simply included a few of the more common target based sports that really lend themselves to this kind of mental method.

But having just one Pre Shot Routine across all golf shots can feel odd given the difference between putting and driving — for example. For golf this can be something to do with your glove or maybe an action related to your club. After this initial action then I would suggest adding around three to five other action steps that naturally leads up to the shot.

Any more than five and you really are running the risk of over complicating it. Of course, we have all seen Rafa going through his pre-point rituals and to the untrained eye, it might seem more like a set of ticks. The good old face wipe with a towel is hard to beat as a starting trigger for both server and receiver.

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Overcoming Mental Battles to Win | Tennis Psychology

The rest of the routine needs — of course — to be aligned with what is required in a few seconds time. Also, if the decision of which serve or where to serve can be included as surely this is not an act but a thought. If decision making is taken seriously as part of the practice, then this will become as automatic as the skills being done around them.

In other words, choosing where to serve only becomes cognitively demanding if you have excluded tactical preparation as part of your practice.

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Due to the fact that these actions tend to be part of fast flowing sports they are often not considered in the same group of closed skills as the previous examples. This is a huge missed opportunity for the kickers of these sports in my opinion. In the 1-on-1 work I do with kickers I basically treat them like golfers but instead of a golf club, they have their leg and foot and instead of a golf ball they have some kinds of inflated ball.

First up, as with golfers, we agree on the ideal number of Pre Kick Routines after going through the pros and cons of one versus several. For example, a rugby union player might want one for set shots and another for kick offs.

Five Mental Toughness Tips

After this, we follow the same rules as before — only using actions to build the Pre Kick Routine — but with a minor exception. I allow kickers to include one quick visualisation as part of their routine. The solution to this conflict is two-fold. Mole Condor Performance chat on the radio about various Sports Psychology topics.

They do say, sometimes, that sport can be 80 percent in your head and 20 percent ability. Or is it the other way around? Good date Gareth.

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Gareth J. I suppose the peculiarity of our profession is that most people are completely aware that the mental side plays a massive role. Based on what we specialise in. It has to be mental. One, as athletes improve, the mental side becomes more dominant. The fact is that an eight year old playing golf with his buddies, it is predominately technical. The guy who can chip the best is probably going to do the best.

It is very technical at that level. Or your fitness and therefore the remaining improvement need to come in things like concentration, confidence, motivation and the like. Novak Djokovic being one of them. Now, in a real bad patch with his form, and he was the dominant player in the game for many many years along with and Roger of course. For those kind of complications. The interesting thing about Novak is of course, couple of things happened, I think he got married and that massively improved his performance for a patch.

Which essentially is based on the distribution of pressure. And then of course, the injuries … the changing of the coaches, very very frequently is quite another interesting thing to observe from afar. And the fascinating thing from our perspective is, is being a former player a sufficient qualification for you to dispense psychological advice? With all due respect to somebody who has won five or six grand slams as Boris Becker may have. Is being used. Yeah I understand. And you put them with a coach and the combination of our knowledge with their experience in sport, should be pretty useful when it comes to them coaching athletes at the highest level.

Out at a night club. Allegedly the rest of the year. Now, kids only And the pressure that that places on him, mentally, worries me.


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Should I be worried about that? Look, the short answer is no. He lives in Australia, this is one of the best countries in the world to be, if the wheels start falling of anything. Compared to so many other places. Of, the overlap of mental health and what we call mental toughness. Just to very briefly go back to my initial comment about sports psychologist being used less than you would think.


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My gut instinct as to one of the major contributing factors to why that is, is the confusion between mental health and mental toughness. And a very simple way of separating them is: mental health is the stuff which, depression, anxiety, and stress for example. Which anybody could be suffering with. Given, that there are, I think 15 or 16, clinical psychologist in Australia …. Now, mental toughness, we believe is like the technical side and the physical side. Would apply to all athletes of all levels. So in that example that you just mentioned with Jackson, where, are you concerned.

In which case, they go down that path. Or, are they actually mentally fine, but some of the issues that they are struggling with, just due to the fact that no one at the club, the coach, is not particularly skilled when it comes to coaching mental aspects such as confidence and [crosstalk ]. Improve performance, obviously, yes? So typically when people first contact us, they fill in a mental toughness questionnaire.

Because you can give answers based on what your dad wants to hear for example. And they are basically things like concentration, confidence, commitment, creativity, communication.

So sometimes the term mental toughness is used like a single concept.

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