Do’s and Don’ts of Competitive Tennis

Play with a desire to win.

  • Realize that being nervous during a match is natural. Your opponent is also nervous.
  • Don’t stand rooted to one spot; keep your feet moving.
  • Don’t talk negatively to yourself. Give yourself credit for going for the shot.
  • Don’t over power the ball adapt your aggressiveness to the score.
  • Study your opponent for weaknesses and exploit them
  • When you make an error ask yourself “What’s important now (WIN)”
  • Use your logical mind to overpower counterproductive emotions
  • Don’t think about technique.  If you have to tell yourself to turn, or follow through, or hit the ball out in front during a match, you are in trouble. If you don’t have your technique down to muscle memory at match time forget about it.
  • Don’t look for help.
  • Decide how you are going to handle errors before you go on the court.
  • Don’t burden yourself with outside pressures absorb yourself in the point by point process of the match.
  • Stay with a winning style of play when winning; change only when pattern of losing comes about.
  • Reaching your ideal performance state
  • You will experience match success if you equate match success with things over which you have control, things such such as: giving 100 percent effort, remaining positive and constructive when thing are not going your way, having fun, tolerating your mistake, tolerate your mistakes, and taking risk and accepting responsibility for your results without blaming extraneous elements like the sun or wind.


Match mindset. The fighters mindset

  • Be strong let nothing get in your way from the objective at hand.
  • Resolve to get the ball over the net just one more time than your opponent does.
  • Give no regard to accidental happening: such as the ball dropping to your side of the net or a crisp passing shot from your opponent.
  • Just because your opponent passed you one time doesn’t mean that he will pass you every time.
  • Keep the pressure on. Confidence comes and goes. An opponent can cleanly pass you 9 times for clear winners and miss the 10th attempt and he will dwell on the missed attempt more so than he takes courage from the 9 he made.
  • Go for your shot if you miss take courage from your attempts. Go down with all flags flying.
  • Tennis matches are a test of will and determination more so than it it a mastery of strokes and strategies.
  • Believe in yourself, stay positive for your doubts are traitors and cause you to loose your edge, the momentum of your efforts by holding back, fearing to attempt. Play your game, don’t be lulled into playing your opponents game.
  • Don’t loose sight of the fact that tennis is just a game, nothing more nothing less. The outcome of it implies nothing about you as an individual. Your self worth as a person is not at stake as a matter of fact nothing of real worth is at risk. Even your pride and vanity is only at risk to the extent that you permit it to be.
  • Remember tennis matches are rarely won by hitting winning shots, they are lost through errors.
  • When you are up against an opponent that you consider better. Ask yourself what are the factors that cause you to feel that your opponent has an advantage on you. Are they faster; stronger; does he have better ground strokes; a better serve. Stop. Take stock of your own unique strengths. Your opponent may be stronger, but you are faster. Instead of feeding your fears from your perceptions of your opponents strength, feed your confidence from positive visualization so far your own strength. Maybe his serve is powerful but your ground strokes are pearling and accurate. Instead of focusing on your opponents left hook, focus on your right cross. Your opponent has only two arms and two legs just like you. He is as nervous about the competition as you are.
  • Play the ball forget the crowd and what others may say of think. It is just one match it has no connection to the outcome of future matches.
  • Keep your mind in the moment (focus on the match you are playing now). Focus on the point you are playing. Don’t allow your mind to skip ahead contemplating the outcome of points or the match. Accept your mistakes as a natural part of the game. You are going to make errors it is a nature part of the game.
  • If you are winning keep doing what you are doing. Don’t be too quick to change a losing game. Analyze why you are losing. Maybe it’s a case of your opponent having a stroke of luck. If that is the case stick to your game, luck is fickle it goes as quickly and unexpected as it comes. Regardless of how bad you are losing there will come a point in the match that the momentum will tilt your way. Stay positive, keep the faith hang in there wait for your opponents momentum will drop. He will miss a few points. He may mispreceive these points as a signal that his game is falling apart. At his point, provided you have the skill and preparation to master the moment, you will have your opportunity to exert your influence into the outcome of the match. Your opponents confidence is diminished, he is beginning to doubt himself. If you can step your game up at this point, hit a few winning shots there is a good chance that momentum will shift to you.
  • There comes a time when you have made your best effort and realize you have lost. Perhaps you weren’t as prepared as you thought you were. Perhaps your opponent was better than you thought and no matter how hard you tried you just weren’t good enough. Admitting defeat after trying your best is no disgrace. Failures are part of the process of growth. Expect them, acce[t them and learn from them. Failures means that you have done something wrong and that you must change.

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