Quick Mental Toughness Tip
Sep 26, 2023
I am a 17-year-old boy who is ranked in the state and I am having a difficult time after I lose a tough point. How do I get my focus back to be able to play the next point?
It is important in tennis to learn how to play one point at a time. This may seem very simple to do but in order to accomplish this you have to utilize the 25 seconds between points optimally and be able to walk away and utilize your routines, such as breathing techniquest (in through the nose 4 seconds and out for 6 seconds) and possibly play with your strings for awhile to feel calmness. And then get ready to compete for the next point.
Using these techniques and compartmentalizing will allow you to compete for one point at a time and not allow the negativity from one point to carry on to the next When you do this and stay in the here and now and become a horse with blinders, you won't be easily distracted and you will be tougher to beat in your matches.
Positive body language can also help to avoid a negative emotion from one point to the next. It is important to have a positive body image out there to let your opponent know - OK that point is over and I am ready to compete for the next point. This positive body language will show your opponent that I am regrouped and am mentally and physically very strong. Even if you feel upset after losing a tough point, if you practice these techniques you will show a lot of positivity to your opponent and will reinforce your ability to start and compete for the next point.
Showing positive body language should be consistent the whole match, and even when down match point you should show a high energy level. When you have this consistent body language you will have equanimity throughout the match to stay mentally tough and focused.
Good luck in your future endeavors in tennis, and remember these life skills you have learned can be transferred to other areas in your life, such as school, relationships, and later in your occupation.
Dr. Cohen is a board certified psychiatrist and winner of 18 USTA national championship gold balls. If you have any questions or comments you would like to address, please email him at email@example.com. Top Photo: Saeed Basseri / Pexels. This article also appears in the September-October 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news.