The sport of tennis is a very physical one, needing a lot of muscle development and hand-eye coordination to play well on the court. However, tennis is just about having a strong mind as it is about a strong body. For optimal tennis performance, the mind and body must be active and resilient.
There are many ways that you can develop your mental strength as well as your physical strength when you are training to play tennis. Having a tough mental stamina will make it easier to focus on the game at hand and keep your body attuned to what it needs to do.
Here are some ways that tennis players can improve their mental toughness, which will benefit the game of tennis in a holistic way.
Be versatile and learn to play a variety of strokes. If you rely solely on a good forehand performance, it means that when you have to hit a backhand, you won’t be able to do it as well. When this happens, you will inevitably hit poor backhands which may make you feel like a failure on the court. This is not good for mental toughness. Therefore, having a variety of strokes that you can play effectively will help you keep a strong mind for tennis.
Stay focused when you are playing tennis. This one is obvious, but highly important as well. If you are distracted by something on the tennis court, whether it be a physical pain or a mental anxiety, your mental stamina will decrease rapidly. To prevent this, make sure you warm up well before a game and prepare your mind for staying focused on the ball while you are playing.
Use positive self talk as a means to keep you mind strong. When you are playing a sport, you can become your own worst enemy. This is the easiest way to bring down your mental toughness. Rather than allowing yourself to be mad at minor errors made, use positive self talk, constructive self criticism, and give yourself space to learn something productive from your mistakes. This will help your mind stay strong and focused for improvement.
Stay in the moment when you are playing tennis. Think of each time you step onto the court as a blank slate. Do not bring with you that time you hit a bad volley or think about a poor serve. After every game, process the errors you made and the things you did well, but do not bring them to the next game. Each game is its own journey and your mind needs to stay in the moment when you are playing.