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Becoming a Mental Tennis Warrior
by John DenBoer, Ph.D., 9 August 2013
Special from Mental Edge Tennis
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A warrior is defined as a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. Additionally, a warrior is defined as one that engages in battle (i.e., a fighter or combatant). As competitive tennis players know, every match is a battle, with the intensity of this battle increasing the higher ones level of play. At any level of tennis, this battle is not simply physical, but mental as well.
A true warrior is on that can maximize their physical talents through optimal mental performance. The great American Sports Psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr defined mental toughness as playing at your maximum potential consistently. Please note that this definition does not mean that you have to be an objectively great player to be great, but simply play to their maximum potential. Therefore, any competitive tennis player can be a mental warrior. In viewing this definition, it is apparent that mental skills training is a very important component to one's physical training.
Lao Tsu, a great warrior and philosopher, stated this: "mastering yourself is the true power." Beginning the process of discovering one's true self is among the first steps in becoming a tennis mental warrior. You can do this through a combination of journaling, yoga, and meditation, which ultimately leads to self-discovery. Getting to know your mental strengths and weakness will ultimately aid you significantly in your quest to maximize your potential as a tennis player.
Dr. Loehr defined tips for mental toughness training. In these tips, he indicated that it was important to portray the "confident fighter image," which involves both possessing the inner and outer sense of loving the battle, rather than being entirely focused on the result. This embodies the true warrior spirit that Lao Tsu exposed.
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