The use of psychology is becoming more and more relevant in sports. In this area, experts have developed many professional strategies based on a cognitive-behavioral model. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to use the psychology of tennis to overcome mental problems.
These professional strategies point to a link between a person’s self-esteem and athletic performance (Ortega and Meseguer, 2009). In tennis, a good player is often distinguished from an excellent one by intelligence.
Lucia Jimenez Almendros is a tennis player who is now also a sports psychologist. She has a doctorate and her thesis is called Positive Thoughts and Feelings in Coping Strategies for Competitive Athletes (Cognición y emoción positivas en el afrontamiento de los deportistas de Competición). She concluded that often only the human mind limits athletic performance.
Many leading ATP and WTP players have confirmed that in professional competitions, where the technical, tactical and physical qualifications of the players are equal, at 95 % of cases, the final result is determined by mental and psychological factors (Hoya Ortega, 2018).
In elite sports, the most important thing is victory, and in some cases it is practically the only thing that matters. It is impossible to ride here with the mantra “the most important thing is to participate”, which is used at the basic levels of sports.
When it comes down to results, rating and performance pressures, psychological competence is essential. That’s when you realize that you need to strengthen your mental capacity to compete at the highest level.
Tennis psychology (self-esteem and motivation) and perceived physical competence
The use of tennis psychology is great influence on the physiological, technical and even tactical aspects of the game. Those players who value themselves more and consider themselves to be more physically competent are more motivated by the instinct of competition, as well as by success and achievement.
These skills are critical for optimal results in a high-intensity sport like tennis. Players must be very quick to perceive and interpret information. This gives them enough time to plan, initiate and execute successful strikes.
Tennis is a sport with high psychological demands and is relatively unique in that it involves great complexity of mind. This is an individual sport. There is no time limit and this can lead to a loss of concentration, motivation and activation.
Players have a lot of decisions to make. There are no long breaks, and there are many critical situations that can lead to an increase or decrease in player performance (Hoya Ortega, 2018).
“I still remember that I could crush anyone. It’s not a problem. But I think the same goes for most athletes. If you stop believing that you can win tournaments, you will not win. “
– Roger Federer-
How to win an intellectual battle using tennis psychology
With the psychology of tennis, you tap into skills that are driven by intrinsic motivation. Skills that help players win the mental battle. This motivation, on the one hand, is aimed at success (they do not think about losing, they are realistic and optimistic and attribute success and failure to internal aspects). On the other hand, it also targets their performance (play well, improve, and give whatever they can).
These qualities and purposeful behavior are necessary to win the mental battle.
Even high level tennis players are nervous, but they have more control over their anxiety. They work to improve their ability to concentrate and focus on what’s important in the game. They are not easily distracted. And if they do get distracted, they can easily use a different type of concentration to frustrate their opponent.
To be able to maintain their mental focus while playing, they follow certain predefined principles in their work both before and during matches. In this way, they make everything seem more normal and thus can achieve maximum performance.
In short, to win the mental battle. To play tennis well, tennis players must feel that everything is going well, almost automatically. They shouldn’t think too much about what to do. They also need to make sure everything is under control.