How to control your side of the net and have Ivan Lendl’s mental strength. Tips on your mental approach from Matt Cuccaro, Director of Mental Training for Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy, and Dr Adam Naylor, Consulting Mental Trainer.
During a tennis match, which side of the net do you focus on? Your eyes look out, so it’s easy to concentrate on your opponent, rather than your own game. Many players discuss the importance of assessing their opponent during warm-ups. Does this do the most for your upcoming performance? While it is important to get a feel for your competition to see some potential strengths and limitations, how much does it take away from finding your own rhythm and measuring the spring in your step?
Check-in with yourself. Be aware of where your attention is and has a tendency to go. What percentage of the time are your thoughts on the wrong side of the net? How often does your mind drift? For example, does your mind say “Man, he likes to push the ball,” or “Come on, keep your feet moving?” Check in with yourself between each point to be mentally focused on your side of the court.
Lead the match. Controlling yourself allows you to control the match. Attention on the opponent leads to reactionary tennis, rather than authoritative play. Stay in charge by choosing to focus on your game plan, targets to hit and keys to solid play.
Step beyond traditional chatter. Television commentators, fellow players, coaches and even parents can be heard saying who they think is a “good” or “bad” player. For the competitive player, this is misdirected thinking and leads one to focus on the wrong side of the net. Labeling opponents only leads to unnecessary distractions, wasted energy and inconsistent play. Be sure to keep a steady attitude and tireless work ethic for optimal results.
For more information: www.LendlTennis.com, 888.983.6647 (888-9-TENNIS) or 843.686.1529.