Since it’s typically just you out on there on a tennis court, holding your concentration from start to finish for a match is very important when it comes to winning. Being as strong mentally as you are physically becomes crucial because any lapses can cause a snowball effect, essentially putting you behind the eight-ball when it comes to the particular competition you’re participating in.
There are going to be days when it just seems really hard to concentrate on the task at hand. How can you do your best to stay focused? Here are three ways you can make that happen.
Practice with distractions around you.
It doesn’t matter at what level of tennis you play, there will almost always be some sort of distraction present during your matches. If you’re having a hard time ignoring those distractions and focusing on the task at hand, then it’s important for you to work on building up this skill when you practice.
Try your best to re-create different kinds of distractions while you’re practicing. The only way to figure out how you can move past these things that are stealing your concentration is by putting yourself in that situation over and over again until it happens.
Stay present in the moment.
Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future are two of the biggest thieves of concentration, both in tennis and life.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what mistakes you made on past points, or a certain situation you wish was handled better. This is the same for the future, as it’s also easy to worry about what you’ll do should a specific situation come up.
You know the best way to handle all this? Stay in the moment! You can’t change those past mistakes, so accept them, learn from them, and then let them go. You also can’t predict the future, however, if you focus on the current point you’re playing, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be able to positively impact it.
Use verbal cues.
Having particular words and/or phrases on hand that can snap you back into being focused are great ways to also stay present in the moment. It could be something that plays more into your emotions, like remembering to relax and take a breath. Or, it could be something that’s instructive, like a reminder on how to approach a certain shot. Whichever you choose, be sure not to over-analyze anything during your match because that will definitely mess with your concentration.
Not executing a shot properly isn’t very fun, but it’s also not fun or useful to keep thinking about it later on in a match and putting even more pressure on yourself to get it right next time. So make sure you’re keeping things simple here to help you get back in the zone.