Home Boys' Lists Girls' Lists Men's Teams Women's Teams News Photos Contributors Links Help Sign-UpOnline Store
Latest News | Categories | Authors | News Archives
 
 

News & Features

Player Advice
Shutting Off The Thinking Mind in Tennis
Share:   

I'd like to introduce to everyone The Thinking Mind. Many junior players throughout the country feel and recognize its presence more and more as the college playing years creep up. You will often see players becoming tight in the presence of college coaches such as in showcases, tournaments, and college visits.

Patrick Albán of SPMI
Many high school players develop a Thinking Mind due to their inability to cope with what I like to call, "college tennis deadline anxiety." If left untreated, players' performances often worsen throughout their most important years instead of flourishing.

Below are four tips to overcoming the Thinking Mind - so that you can take control of your thoughts in this critical stage of a player's tennis development.

 

Four Ways To Stop Over-Thinking

Identifying Triggers: After each match and practice, take ten minutes to identify when and what caused the fear. Write down those triggers, and next to them label them as either fear or danger. Many players will find that most of their overwhelming thoughts were due to fear.

 

Diaphragmatic Breathing: After identifying fearful thoughts, practice slow and deep breathing. Players may choose to listen to soft music while practicing their breathing to enhance the relaxation response.

 

Embracing Fear: Many players develop the bad habit of avoiding fearful situations like the plague. This habit - when reinforced - often results in choking and "ugly tennis." Players need to practice embracing fearful thoughts every time they recognize them. By embracing the fear, players are teaching themselves to go after pressure. This technique will help players improve their performance - especially in tough moments.

 

Practice Paying Attention to the Present: Learning how to stay in the present for longer periods of time helps athletes take control of the thinking mind and keep thoughts to a minimum. One technique players can practice is to pay attention to the taste of their food with each bite. Try to notice slight changes in taste, texture, temperature, and consistency. By practicing this skill, tennis players will develop a deeper understanding of the present moment while controlling distracting thoughts on and off the court.
 

Add these techniques to your training and be patient with the results. In fact, the less focused the player is on the results, the faster they will see improvement.

 

Patrick Albán, B.S, M.S., is Director of Mental Training at SPMI, Cañas Tennis Academy, and Rick Macci Tennis Academy. Albán has trained hundreds of tennis players throughout the world, helping them maximize their mental game and achieve their goals in tennis and in life. You can reach him at (786) 350-1554 - or check out his website.

 

Leave a Comment

 

More Player Advice

27-Nov-2016
Building A Game: The Tennis Imagination
Junior tennis abounds with players adept at contemporary tennis: an attrition-based, narrowly-focused baseline game. This mode certainly generates outcomes in the form of match wins, rankings and scholarships. But what about a long-term, sustainable process for staying engaged with the tennis? Talk of strokes - that is, groundstrokes - is plentiful. But talk of a playing style - the rich literature - is minimal.

21-Nov-2016
Go With the Flow
You will often hear at a junior tennis match, "I was so in the zone today," or "How is this guy zoning so hard out there?" If you are talking about yourself, it's a compliment. If you were referring to your opponent, you were basically saying they were playing above their level. Let's take a look at what these phrases really mean - and why they allow players to perform at their best.

1-Aug-2016
A Daily Mental Plan That Might Just Work
Focus ... Concentrate ... Stay in the present ... these are all words and terms we use when coaching players from time to time. We have difficulty understanding why they get distracted and lose focus during various stages of their matches or in practice. But how many tennis players have a daily mental routine or practice? Not just a plan before or during matches - but an actual daily practice to strengthen their minds and emotions?

 
 Player Advice Index |   Subscribe

 
RECENT COMMITMENTS
1/18 MacKenzie Deeter chooses Colgate
1/17 Enrique Smalley chooses Montreat
1/17 Julia Chappell chooses Assumption
1/16 Reed Plunkett chooses IUPUI
1/16 Kate Harvey chooses Michigan State
1/15 Tristan Young chooses Bowdoin
1/15 Megan Guenther chooses MIT
1/15 Chisato Hayakawa chooses Wesleyan (CT)
1/14 Theodora Francu chooses Towson
1/14 Sarah Murray chooses Berry

Full Listings: Boys' Commits & Girls' Commits

 
 THE LATEST FROM TENNIS WAREHOUSE
1/17 Honorary TW playtester!
1/07 Lots of new products arrived in our warehouse! Check some of them out
1/05 NEW TW REVIEW : The brand new @head_tennis Graphene Touch Instinct MP. Watch
12/23 ?? what our playtesters had to say about the @WilsonTennis Burn 100S Countervail
 
 

Page updated on Sunday, November 13, 2016
Contact our web team with any corrections