This article focuses on the area of being able to take your tennis techniques and general play into match play environments. So how do you take the same qualities such as; focus, energy, relaxed intensity and attitude into a match that you have achieved in training?
The short answer from tennis coaches is; awareness and practice. You need to be aware of the key mental aspects that have helped you be successful in training and replicate them in matches.
Ideal Performance State
The Ideal Performance State (IPS) is crucial, but a difficult concept for players and coaches to grasp. A player’s IPS is when everything comes together both physically and mentally so that the performance is focused, intense and in some ways feels automatic. It is where the player is giving the minimal of thought and things are just happening naturally.
Once a player can grasp what their IPS actually is, they can then to harness it consistently and practise the skills to use it regularly.
Study The Professionals
The best players have that mental edge to their game and a big part of achieving this is that they have learned to embrace their IPS and use it consistently, whether through intense warm-ups, regular routines, visualisation or other skills.
Study the pro’s and focus on the little things that they do, and for that matter what they don’t do, which demonstrated they are in their IPS.
Federer is always calm, cool and in control when at his best, utilising quiet yet positive reinforcement of good points, and moving quickly to the baseline to re-set after bad play. Whereas Djokovic tends to scream and cheers after good points, these emotions serve Djokovic well but not necessarily other players.
The lesson from this is that there is not a better or worse IPS, it it just what seems to work for you.
How Do You Train Your IPS?
Another factor to playing like you train is integrating your mental skills into your practice. Players spend hours each day improving their technique and training to get their physical attributes better but hardly give any attention to their mental game.
Yet this focused, directed and specific work on your IPS is essential. It is not enough to hope that this part of your game will come naturally.
You need to train to recognise what your individual IPS is and strive to achieve it, and that is to understand the actions and thoughts required that brings you to this level. If your IPS involves playing with high intensity, then achieve that intensity by:-
- Always perform a tough warm up
- Be very busy and active on court
- Utilise buoyant positive talk after good points
Training the mental game does take time, you can’t develop an amazing shot overnight, nor can you control your emotions and change mentally in an instant. It will take effort and discipline but with time it will come.
Record Your Successes
- When you feel great and achieve your IPS on court, take a note of the physical and emotional factors that are contributing to this.
- Engage the triggers during training in order to improve your ability to harness them when you need them on court.
- Study the game’s top players to see how they behave in their routines and how they respond emotionally when they are playing at their best.
If you are keen to improve your tennis game then why not talk to our friendly team today.
We can provide group coaching for adults or private tennis lessons, we also have social tennis which runs on a Sunday. Our social tennis is a great way to meet other people, play some organised tennis and of course have some fun along the way!