The Importance of Mental Fitness in Tennis
If you have ever played the game of tennis, you know that
no matter how fast and how strong you are, if your head isn't
in the game, you are going to lose. This is true for players
new to the game and for those athletes who have been playing
tennis for many many years. In order to play a truly successful
game of tennis, you need to be mentally fit as well as physically
Like physical fitness, mental fitness fits into the same four
categories: strength, flexibility, speed and agility. Strength
is the first important component. When you look at strength
as a purely physical concept, it is seen as providing strong
resistance to outside forces. For example, being able to lift
heavy weights. However, in terms of mental fitness, strength
is being able to provide strong resistance under extreme levels
of emotional pressure.
Flexibility is the next component. Physical flexibility allows
you to get into different positions in order to react to whatever
shot is being sent your way. Mental flexibility does the same,
though instead of being able to stretch your body, you can
stretch your mind. You could look at this time of flexibility
as creativity and the ability to control your emotions throughout
Speed is the next component. As a physical attribute it allows
you to react quickly to each shot, reaching its destination
in plenty of time to return the ball successfully. Mental
speed allows your mind to move quickly and stay at pace with
the game. It won't matter how quick your body can be, if your
mind doesn't trigger it to move fast, you won't get to your
shots in time.
The last mental skill you will need is agility. As a physical
attribute it refers to the ability to move, stop and change
direction quickly without forfeiting control. It also encompasses
the ability to recover from problems such as a loss of balance.
As a mental trait, it requires that you negotiate a wide range
of emotions. You will need to stay mentally and emotionally
balanced even when things are not going your way.
No matter how physically skilled you are at the game of tennis,
and no matter how physically fit you are, your mental state
plays an important roll in your execution of the game. As
you improve physically, your mental prowess must increase
as well. Once you have learned to "get your head in the game",
you will see remarkable improvements in your performance.
Sydney Garrison is an avid cyclist and sports enthusiast.
She is also a partner in an online bike
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