How To Play Tennis - The Mental Game
Learning how to play tennis can be either a wonderful or
a very frustrating experience. It depends on whether your
approach and expectations to the game are realistic and whether
your coach and his way of teaching the game of tennis are
the best for your starting level of play.
When you start learning how to play tennis you probably don't
know much about it. You've seen how good players play and
they seem so effortless and the game seems easy. You decide
that you want to try it too and enroll in one of the lessons
at your local club.
There are 2 main areas when you are still learning how to
- Technique (footwork, body, arm action)
And here are the main mental points for these two areas of
your beginning lessons:
1. Be aware - when you learn how to play tennis you are soon
overwhelmed with lots of information. This can cause you to
lose focus on most important things - depending on your coach's
instructions. Listen to your coach and do as he/she tells
you to. Sometimes it's your arm movement, sometimes focusing
on the feel of the racquet, sometimes on your movement. Be
aware of what is happening so that you may correct that.
We coaches often come to the situation when the player wants
to hit the ball in court while our main concern is correct
form. And sometimes we don't care about form and just want
the player to develop feel and put the ball in court but the
beginner is still focused on the correct form. So stay with
your coach's instructions and be aware of the outcome.
2. Don't take the game too seriously and don't try too hard
- it's only a game. You are already too tense at the start
since you don't feel which muscles you need and which you
don't. So you use too many of them. If you add to this a too
serious approach and you try too hard to hit the ball in or
to please your coach, you will slow down your improvement
and lose all the joy and fun when learning how to play tennis.
3. Accept mistakes as a part of this game. There will be probably
quite some mistakes at the beginning. Don't let that discourage
you, it's only feedback. You learn from them. You need mistakes,
without them you can't explore your limits. And remember your
tennis abilities have nothing to do with you - your inner
self. There is no connection unless you make one.
4. Be patient and willing to wait before results come. Your
brain and body need many repetitions before they adapt. Wait
and be patient. You'll soon know how to play tennis. :)
5. Here are some mental qualities that lead you to success,
regardless of your skill level or area of your involvement:
a) Focus on what you want instead of what you don't want -
playing better instead of not playing bad - serving in the
court instead of not making a double fault - hitting an "easy"
ball in rather than hoping that you won't miss again
b) Be decisive - when you decide what you want to do (hitting
down the line or crosscourt, hitting close to lines or more
in the middle, playing more attacking shots, playing more
volleys, …) do it. Stay with you decision. Decide quickly
- remember: he who hesitates is lost.
Even if your decision turns out to be wrong, you'll get some
feedback. When you are indecisive and don't decide what to
do, you don't know when will such a situation present itself
c) Be courageous - there are many situations in the game where
you'll feel the fear: of missing, of making a fool of yourself,
of winning, of not improving … There is only one way of beating
the fear - courage. Doing the right thing regardless of your
emotional tendencies. Just do it. Feel the fear and do it
Learning how to play tennis can be a very fun, exciting and
rewarding experience. Follow these mental steps when learning
and playing and you are on your way to becoming a mental master
of this beautiful game.
Tomaz Mencinger is a sports consultant and a tennis
coach. Learn how to play tennis and many more tennis tips
at his website www.tennismindgame.com/
Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com
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