Sport psychology and mental training are being sought out by many professional athletes for a number of reasons.
Some players are looking for an edge over their competition or trying to find a way to climb the rankings… Some athletes are seeking the confidence necessary to compete at a high level on a consistent basis… Other players are looking for strategies to stay calm and composed under pressure while others are looking for methods to deal with nagging injuries or being tired at the end of matches, etc.
One area to which mental training provides tremendous benefit is managing on-court emotions. Managing on-court emotions is tricky because one size does not fit all. That is, the emotional state that helps one athlete may not help another. For example, anger generated by a questionable line call could motivate some tennis players to play more aggressively while other players may respond with an on-court outburst that causes their emotions and performance to spiral downwards.
This is the reason why so many tennis players, as well as athletes in other sports, seek out mental game coaches. Managing emotions is critical for tennis players to perform at their peak especially in pressure or emotionally-charged situations.
Emotional management was the motive for Daniil Medvedev to start working with sport psychologist Francisca Dauzet. At the 2019 US Open, Medvedev received $19,000 in fines for outbursts including an obscene gesture, tossing a towel and unsportsmanlike remarks.
In his US Open match against Feliciano Lopez, Medvedev commented on his emotional outbursts, “It was tough. I was in the heat of the moment and started losing the momentum.”
Medvedev had Dauzet in his box at the US Open as he tried to find a way to manage his emotions and use his emotions to energize his play.
MEDVEDEV: “[My sport psychologist is] helping me a lot… I lost a lot of matches in my career when I was getting crazy… I don’t want to lose these matches because I get crazy or because I lose some concentration because of the fans, because of the referees something that happens during the match.”
Medvedev, now ranked 4th in the ATP world rankings, would rather be defeated by his opponent than beating himself due to runaway emotions. As all players know, tennis is a high-stress sport. In order to succeed and enjoy playing, it is in your best interests to learn how to effectively manage your emotions.
In order to play at your peak, it is important that you learn:
- The emotions that help you game
- The emotions that hurt your play
- Strategies to minimize the effects of negative emotions
- Techniques to use emotions to motivate and energize your play
As with all mental skills, effective emotional management can separate you from other tennis players.
Tardio Tip: Effectively Managing On-Court Emotions
There are approximately 20 seconds between points, so between each point is a built-in mini timeout.
Instead of ruminating over a bad call or lost point and allowing your emotions to spiral out of control, take the time between points to reset and re-focus.
After the point is finished take a couple of deep breaths then use a key word or phrase, such as “Focus,” “This point,” or “Get after it!” to get into the right emotional frame of mind for the upcoming point.
Related Article: Manage your Emotions or they will Control You
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