5 GREAT MENTAL TIPS
BY JENNIFER HEISTAND
MENTAL PERFORMANCE COACH TO ELITE ATHLETES
In this article I want to give you five mental tips that will improve your game significantly.
1. YOU NEED TO CONSCIOUSLY BREATH
Athletes who hold their breath tend to become agitated or anxious more often during play, which leads to incoherent decision making. If you are holding your breath while playing in a match, your muscles and organs cannot oxygenate. This may lead to dizziness and not having enough energy to
finish your game with enough stamina to play at your best.
When you hold your breath, you are causing your muscles to become restricted. Which in turn does not allow your muscles to stretch and be fluid for your shot. Many great players will grunt at the point of contact to release the air from their lungs.
2. STOP THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
Judgments tend to expand upon themselves. Think about it. If you were to say, That was such a lousy serve! that tends to lead to more lousy serves. Which in turns leads to saying to yourself, I served like **** today! Which, of course, leads to the inevitable, I have a terrible serve! Stop judging yourself and let it go.
When you relive and judge a less than stellar performance from the day, you are imprinting it to memory. You are informing to yourself that your tennis game sucks. This will cause the negative emotion you felt earlier to resurface. Instead practice self-forgiveness know that you will be back on your game tomorrow.
3. BE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY PRESENT
Use your God-given five physical senses to help you stay present in your match. By doing this you are giving your brain something to do. Your mind will not have a chance to run away from you and get caught up in the chatter running around in your head. Feel the breath flowing in and out of your lungs. Focus on your physical movements, as you are taking your essentials out of your bag. Feel the ball or racquet in your hand. These things
will help you stay in the present moment.
4. BE AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS
As you have read from my previous articles, emotions are your guidance. They will always let you know when you are not focusing on the present moment. If you are angry or frustrated in your match than you are fixated on a past shot or mistake.
If you are anxious or playing apprehensive than you are fixated on the final outcome verses what is playing out in front of you. Use tip number 3 to pull your attention back to the present moment.
5. THINGS TO GIVE UP IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY
• Overthinking. Your first idea is usually the correct one.
• Fearing change. It is going to happen regardless of whether you like it or not.
• Trying to please everyone. This is impossible!
• Negative influences. Life is too short to surround yourself with pessimistic people.
• Worrying about what others are doing. Who cares, anyway!
If you would like to have additional insights for your game, call Jennifer Heistand 561-570-5544.