4 PRACTICAL TIPS TO IMMEDIATELY UPGRADE YOUR TENNIS MENTAL GAME: HOW TO PLAY ONE POINT AT A TIME


Do you want to learn the secrets of how to stay focused on the present? It can be really hard when playing to focus on one point at a time. It is much easier to get distracted by what has gone wrong in the past or to worry about what will happen in the future. Read this post to get practical tips that are easy to apply and will improve your focus immediately!

First let’s start with why it is important to stay focused on the present when playing tennis. Focusing on the present is when you play your best and where peak performance happens.

Why?

  • Your mind can only focus on a few things at once. To play your best in the current point you need to be completely focused on that one point. If you are still frustrated about the past or worried about the future you will be distracted and won’t be fully focused on playing well.

  • Being fully focused on playing well in the present stops you from being frustrated about a mistake or bad call, and it prevents you from worrying about making more mistakes or what your parents/coach are thinking. You can’t think about both at the same time. Without frustration or worry you will be calmer and your body will be more relaxed. This is when your body performs at its best.

  • Playing one point at a time prevents you from feeling the pressure of the situation or from focusing on the score. Both of these can lead to excess nerves or frustration. You might then be too aggressive or hold back and start to make more mistakes. You will be more tense and your footwork will slow down. Avoid all of this by playing one point at a time.

  • Being fully focused on how to play well in the present helps you to be calm and composed. You will be able to think clearly and make the best decision. You can stick to your game plan and will be able to make the corrections needed. You will make more of your shots, improve your first serve percentage, make less errors and be more confident. You will also have more fun!

Follow these 4 Mental Muscle Training Tips to stay focused on one point at a time:

  1. Watch the Ball:

  • Watch the seams of the ball and its pattern from your opponents’ racket to yours and from yours to his. This will allow you to see the flight path of the ball, improve anticipation, and achieve deeper concentration.

  • Bounce-Hit: Say “bounce” in your head and say “hit” in your head every time the ball bounces and when it is hit. This will allow you to hear the rhythm, hold your attention longer, turn off your thoughts and trust yourself.

  1. Listen To The Ball: Become very aware and focus on the sound of the ball hitting the sweet spot for each shot. Once you recognize a good sound e.g. “crack” ask your body to produce it, don’t think of how. Use this as a focus word.

  2. Feeling:

  • Where the racket is especially when it is behind you

  • Be sensitive to the feeling of good shots

  • How the handle and your grip feels

  • Rhythm

  • Feel of ball at impact and the different vibrations sent to the hand

  • Distribution of your weight

  • Angle of face of racket

  • All of the above will increase your sensitivity to your muscles during shots; how they should feel and when they don’t feel right e.g. too tense. This will improve your consistency and development of shots.

  1. Breathing: If you are distracted by anything between points bring your attention to your breathing. Focus on how each breath feels as it goes in and out. Don’t control it, follow its natural rhythm and relax into its basic motion. Practice this until you need only 2-3 breaths to get back to the present.

To stay focused on the present and reach your potential during matches, you need a quiet mind where you are in a state of relaxed and effortless concentration. Practice using each of these during training and decide which ones works best for you. Choose 1-2 to use during matches to bring your focus back to the present when you are distracted.

Let me know in the comments below which one worked best for you. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer!

If you would like more customized tips and an individualized mental training plan you can Contact Me here. You can also find out more about my services and why you should work with me on my Services Page here.

If you want to get more tips and exercises, sign up for my free newsletter here. You will receive my free e-book: Top Ten Mental Mistakes Athletes Make In Competition: What Every Athlete, Coach and Parent Need To Avoid To Improve Mental Toughness. Plus you get the strategies top athletes use to become mentally tough and get an edge over their opponents.

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Zoe Littlewood, M.A. -
Sport Psychology Consultant & Mental Skills Coach

Zoe specializes in working with individuals, teams, parents and coaches to produce performance enhancement, mental toughness and a winning mindset.

© 2020 by Zoe Littlewood.

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