Focused Tennis Energy

Then you have to keep asking yourself that same question for your whole coaching career.

If you are a competitive tennis player, then you need to asking yourself this,

“How can I master playing the mental game”.

I think it’s time to change the names of the tours to,

(The ATP Mental Tennis Tour or The WTA Mental Tennis Tour).

Just joking guys.

No, but seriously.

The fact is that the top ranked players in the world, I mean the world class players here, have LEARNED how to focus their energy on court.

The reason for this is, they practice it everyday.

While the lower ranked players never work on their mental games in practice.

“All top tennis players can block out defeats, setbacks and outside forces and stay focused on their tennis goals.”

While the other players tend to struggle and keep struggling in their playing careers.

Which brings me to my mental tip that I have for you today.

Get in harmony and align with your mental game and nothing can stop you.

“Everything is energy and the best tennis players focus their energy on only thoughts, that can and will empower them.”

I read before that 90% of all tennis players, focus on their failures and what they can’t do on the court.

That’s a big mistake, because thinking this way will always create the following problem for them in matches.

Nervous energy, instead of focused energy.

Many tennis players are struggling in match play right now as I write this.

And the reason for this is simple.

They don’t have a mental game.

ACTION TIP

For the next week, don’t have anything to do, with anyone or any thoughts, that weaken or drain you of your energy.

Feed your focused energy, by thinking only empowering thoughts and about your tennis goals and writing them down 2 twice a day.

First, just focus and get through that first week, do what you have to do to reach 1 week.

It’s very important, because you want to get out of the negative energy force field, that you are in right now!!

And this can help you do just that.

Tips For Playing Big Points

  • Play it on your terms

You want to start and play the point on your terms.

End of point.

Never start a big point, actually, any point for that matter, until you are mentally ready to play it.

This will allow you to play yourself into a good rhythm in your matches and who knows, you may find yourself in the (Tennis ZONE) before the match is over!!

  • No cheap points

Make your opponent earn the point and don’t give away easy points.

Your first objective is to get the serve in or get the return in, whatever you do, don’t miss it!

Because the top players aren’t going give you any cheap points.

They play every point hard and smart!!

  • See it, before you play it.

“This is the mental tip that you need to practice on everyday. “

At first, you may not be able to do it on court, but keep on doing it in practice.

Visualizing a point before you play it is going to help you learn how to play them better and then this is going to also help you start playing the bigger point better.

Quick tip to leap-frog the learning curb on this one!!

“Everyday practice holding one thought at a time, for as long as you can. “

If you are like most players, that is going to be for only a few seconds.

Now, after a week of doing this, you will be able to do it longer.

Carry this concentration over into your practice time and that is when you will be able to dominate your mental game.

I told my student the other day,

“If you can’t win the big points, you will never win the big matches”.

Are you guys feeling me on this one?

Great, because that is the whole point of this post here today.

I need to get back to the Kei vs Johnson match now that is going on!!

Tennis Racquet String Tension

Since all tennis rackets recommend different tensions (they are generally somewhere in the 50 or 60 pound range), there is not one tension that can be recommended. You can only use the following guidelines. Lower tension increase power and higher tensions increase control. With a lower tension, the racket acts almost like a trampoline. The ball hits the racket, the strings quickly form a small pocket (relative to the tennis string tension) and your swing and strings shoot the ball out of the pocket. Obviously, this is a little over exaggerated, but it is a metaphor to how the strings respond with a lower tension. This all results in a little less control.

Racquet string tension that is on the high side causes the racquet to act more like a board or “brick wall”. This tight racket string tension causes the ball to flatten out more, which allows the strings to have a better bite on the ball. This, in essence, provides more control. Many players prefer tighter strings but it does have a board like feel that you may not like. It is also important to keep in mind that racket string tension will feel different with different rackets. Some tennis rackets are flexible while others are stiff. Your current tension may feel very different on a different racket even though they have the same recommended string tension.

Tennis string tension really becomes a matter of personal preference and trial and error. And it starts all over again if you get a new tennis racket. So just remember the basics:

  • Higher string tension means reduced power but more control
  • Lower string means more power but reduced control

Now that I have said all of this, I will throw a kink into the mix. These guidelines really apply to those tennis players who are passed the beginning stage of tennis and are a more intermediate or advanced player. A beginner could be hitting balls all over the place but a higher or tighter racket string tension is not going to help them out with better control. A beginner would most likely benefit from a lower tension because the strings will be more forgiving and help with the number of off center hits that they have. I would suggest that a beginning tennis player stick with the mid-range string tension that is recommend for the tennis racket.

Tips For Practice

Your success is tied to your attitude, so for those players that are struggling with their mental game now, take a hard look at the type of attitude you are taking to practice everyday.

Next one.

Write Everything Down

Think on paper and write down your practice plan and also picture yourself doing them in your mind while you are doing this.

The best way to do this is to write it down after practice.

Then look at it again before your next practice, by recording things down, you will gain clarity and focus and this alone can help you become more efficient in practice.

This can also help you reduce the amount of stress you are feeling on the court and boast your energy level up.

Make The Adjustments

You have to make the needed adjustment before, in and after practice if you want to become more successful with them.

The one big mistake that many tennis players make, is that they don’t make the adjustments that they need to everyday.

They just keep doing the same things over and over again and they expect different results from doing that.

Here are some examples.

When working on a drill, you should never miss 3 shots in a row.

Because if you miss the first one, and make a adjustment, then if you miss that one too, you can then make the last tweak and make the shot.

You can do this with a playing pattern too.

Anytime I see a player in practice, not getting the right results, I soon find out that they are not working the drills right.

It’s the not the drill that is the problem, it’s the player who is working on the drill, that is the problem.

See if you can implement these 3 tips for practice as soon as you can.

But first, make sure you pass the PMA Test.

That is a hard test, so it make take you a while to do it, but get that done first and then focus on bringing on board the over 2 practice tips as well.

Good luck and have some fun!!

One Handed Back Hand Drive

Unfortunately, the basic breakdown for beginners starts before the ball even arrives. Club players can be notoriously slow for getting positioned to hitting the ball. Now, I realize that club players arrive at the scene with frailties of all descriptions. However; it is critical to get the body aligned with the racquet back and knees flexed with the ball arriving between knee and waist height over the front foot. At this point, you have just dramatically increased your probability for success. The grip will need some experimentation but generally speaking a continental grip (hand shaking) plus a 1/8th clockwise turn (right-hander) will work nicely. Yes, this is not the heavy grip rotation that you may be using on the forehand side. Most of the top players in the world now use the western grip on the forehand but good luck trying to go this far over on the backhand.

The next most common mistake among beginners is a tendency to drop the racquet head below the wrist upon initiating from the back swing. All chances for success are now lost because the wrist gets ahead of the head and the order of events has failed. It is helpful to bring the racquet back with the other hand to maintain the stability of the racquet before delivering the forward momentum. This other hand can also moderate the slight flexion in the wrist during the backs swing. Take a look at some old footage of Bjorn Borg. He had a kind of a hitch in his back swing. Basically, he had a two handed backs wing and a beautiful one handed delivery. Next, the front shoulder will drop and align with the front knee. Naturally, the elbow will be tucked. Your legs, shoulder, forearm, and wrist will uncoil rhythmically delivering a square racquet head to the ball. Your head will stay down through the stroke and your racquet will finish high rolling through the ball. Whoosh!

Different Types of Tennis Balls

Pressurized vs. Pressureless Tennis Balls:

  • There are two main types of tennis balls: pressurized and pressureless.
  • Pressurized tennis balls have a hollow core, filled with air. Some tennis ball manufacturers use nitrogen in the center, because this air tends to last longer – pressurized balls will lose their pressure after about a month or so after opening the pressurized can that they come in. As they lose their pressure, they become “dead” and do not bounce so well.
  • Pressureless balls have a solid core. These tennis balls are great for anyone who does not play tennis that often and/or to use and training tennis balls. These tennis balls do not lose their bounce. However, the felt will slowly wear off, and they will eventually need to be replaced.

Regular Duty, Extra Duty, or High Altitude Tennis Balls:

  • When you buy tennis balls, the container that they come in should be clearly marked with what kind of balls it contains – regular duty, extra duty, or high altitude tennis balls.
  • Regular duty tennis balls should be used on indoor and clay courts. Extra duty balls would get too fuzzy if used on clay courts.
  • Extra duty tennis balls are used on grass courts and tennis courts.
  • High altitude tennis balls are used in places like Denver where you are playing 4,000 feet or more above sea level. These balls have different pressure – regular balls would bounce too much at this elevation.

Tennis Ball “Fuzziness:”

  • Without the yellow (or white…) fuzziness of tennis balls, the game of tennis would be a whole lot different. The fuzz of the tennis balls creates friction. The fuzziness of the balls creates dray in the air, making topspin and backspin more pronounced and more possible.

Numbers on the Tennis Balls:

  • Have you ever wondered what the numbers on your tennis balls meant? Do they reference the weight or style of the tennis balls, etc.? No.
  • The numbers on the tennis balls are simply for your benefit – if you are playing with Wilson 1 balls, and the people on the court next to you are playing with Wilson 2 balls, it is easier to retrieve your tennis balls when they wander onto another tennis court. The numbers help you tell your balls apart from other players’ balls (assuming that you are not using the same brand and same number of tennis balls!)

Tennis Players Can Reach Their Full Potential

Write down your tennis goals.

Twice a day, once in the morning and then again at night.

Carry them around with you and look at them during your downtime.

Visualize your goals.

Your picture may not be clear at first, but just keep doing it every day.

With practice, they will become clearer and clearer for you.

Visualization doesn’t work for most people because they don’t do it long enough.

It’s the law of practice.

The more you do something, the better you get at doing it.

Take action.

This is where you have to be careful.

Don’t just take any action, take inspired action towards reaching your tennis goals.

This means you should be feeling good when taking this action or stop doing it!

Tennis is a FEEL game in the learning stage, but it’s all MENTAL in the competition phase.

Write that down and refer back to it.

Be persistent.

Focus on being the best that you can be at every giving moment of your day and never lose sight of your goal (To reach your full potential).

I heard this quote from a speaker the other day and I can’t get it out of my mind.

“The biggest problem in our society is unfulfilled potential”!

When I heard that, it just slapped me in my face!!

Because it is so true.

The biggest problem that is facing our game and the world, in general, is people not reaching their full potential.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Keep adjusting your approach.

Now, after you follow the above steps.

You must adjust your plan, strategy, and training.

Look at everything as feedback and then make the needed adjustments and keep progressing towards your tennis goals.

Develop an adaptable mindset and get rid of your mechanical mindset.

Too many players have a narrow mindset and this narrow mindset turns into tennis slumps that can last their whole careers.

Think about like this.

If something isn’t working, just stop doing it and try something else.

If your current mental training, isn’t helping your match play performance, let it go!

I mean.

They are all just experiences, that you either learn from or you keep repeating over and over again.

Becoming An Elite Tennis Player

Commitment To Excellence

The top players train their mind, bodies and spirit everyday.

Through this daily training, they are able to strengthen all 3 at the same time!!

The key factor being.

How they train.

They train at a high level, even when they aren’t feeling good, and this is the sign of an elite player, who is determined to be the best they can be.

How about you?

Do you train and give your all in practice everyday?

Clearly Define Goals.

Your tennis goals need to be written down on paper and posted up for you to see and picture daily to yourself.

You also need to keep writing them down and rewriting them in present tense.

This create the clarity that you need when working on your goals.

Question.

How often do you write down your tennis goals?

Play To Win.

The top tennis players play to win all the time.

They never even enter a tennis match, until they have won that match in their minds first!!

This allows them to pre-program themselves for victory on the court.

Because they have already won the match mentally, they are more mentally stronger under pressure.

“Elite players expect and demand the very best from themselves, in every match that they play in and it doesn’t matter who their opponent is across the net”.

The powerful thing about this mindset in competition is,

You can lose a match and still walk off the court, feeling like a winner and that is a powerful feeling to have after a lost!!

Those are 3 common traits that all elite tennis players have.

So start staying congruent with them and you will soon have them too!!

Develop a great attitude as you train daily.

Please remember this one thing here.

Tennis Side Stitches

The point is important so you think you can work through it. The pain worsens so you stop. Once you stop, the pain usually disappears. You have just experienced a side stitch.

The side stitch is caused by a muscle spasm of the diaphragm. When we inhale, air comes into the lungs and presses the diaphragm downward. When we exhale, the diaphragm moves upward. When you eat a big meal right before you play tennis or when air has gotten trapped below the diaphragm, a cramp (stitch) can occur.

How can you get past a side stitch? The best immediate action is to try to stretch out the cramping muscle. This can be done by alternating your breathing pattern. Take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds. Then force the air back out through puckered lips to restrict the air flow. Other professionals have mentioned that crouching down and stretching tall helps by flexing the abs.

Best way to avoid side stitches? Increase your fitness and conditioning training to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Make sure that you do not consume too much food or liquid prior to play because the added weight increases the downward pull, which can help to cause the stitch.

Things To Do Before A Tennis Match

The Mental Battle

Get your mind right before you step out there, by doing some warrior meditation in a quiet place.

After you have your thoughts under control.

“Picture yourself playing your best tennis on court, feel that emotion that comes with it and also talk yourself up with some empowering affirmations”.

The object here is to embrace the challenge and get your mind ready for mental warfare. (Shout out to Scott Bolan)

Go Over Your Battle Plan

Okay, after you get your mind ready for the match.

Take another look at your battle plan.

Again, picture yourself out there executing your shots and doing it under pressure.

Tennis is a feel game and if your plan doesn’t feel right for that day, tweak it a bit and focus on seeing it through.

Have a Plan B and C

You will need a back up plan, if your game plan doesn’t workout for you during the start of the match.

So think it out all on paper.

Strategize your plan, until it becomes so clear to you, that you can actually feel it.

This actually what the best players at every level do.

I call this becoming a “Grand Strategist”.

It’s like your plan is so thought out that, you become relax on court and play in the moment.

A few other tips, before I let you guys go.

Give your battle plan enough time to work.

5 games is long enough, so if things aren’t working by then, switch to plan B and see what happens.