Things are not always going to go right on the tennis court. Even so, it is a great idea to tell yourself something positive between points or just before starting a point. Phrases like “let’s go”, “you’ve got this”, “come on”, “yes” are all good, short positive self talk ideas.
If you make an error, rather than reacting negatively (dropping your racquet head, disgusted facial expression, shaking your head, telling yourself how bad you are, etc.), try to take a practice swing correctly, or remind yourself of a strategy or technique idea that will help you if you are faced with the same shot or situation again.
There are several other things relating to positive self talk and body language that can help you and frustrate your opponent. Holding your racquet by the throat in your non-dominant hand in between points will help you relax your hitting arm and send a message to your opponent that you are not nervous.
Just walking and standing confidently while preparing for your next shot, point, or match situation can have a positive effect, as well as making your opponent a bit more concerned. Get in the habit of calling the score out confidently, regardless of whether you are ahead or behind. Treat your opponent with respect and tell them (once in a while) when they hit a good shot.
Lastly, always give your opponent the impression that you will fight for every point until you shake hands when it is over. The way you carry yourself on the court, in between the points, games and sets, can be a determining factor in the outcome of the match.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at email@example.com