Tennis Psychology – Controlling Frustration on the Court
Do you get frustrated when you are not playing up to your potential?
Many tennis players experience frustration during a match. They may make the wrong decision on a shot, make an unforced error or lose a game when they've had the lead. These can all be sources of frustration for tennis players. Many players experience frustration because they are not playing their best tennis.
One tennis player wanted to know “how to stay focused and calm when not playing as well as I would like.”
The key is to know what causes you to become frustrated or upset about your performance. Many athletes are frustrated because they are not performing up to their expectations. Expectations are not helpful to your performance. Expectations can cause athletes to judge their performance and can lead to added pressure.
The key is to let go of your expectations. Because your expectations have developed over years and years of play, it may be difficult to let go of your expectations. Try setting process goals to replace your expectations. Use process goals to guide and track your performance. Avoid trying to judge your performance based on your process goals.
Another cause of frustration is dwelling on mistakes. When players dwell on mistakes they may over analyze or think too much about the mistake. Tennis players who dwell on mistakes are stuck in the past, which does not help them play in the present moment. Dwelling on past mistakes can affect your performance on the next points and can cause more mistakes. The key is to play one point at a time. Think of each point as the start of the match.
Some players may be annoyed or frustrated at their opponent. Players may become angry at their opponent's strategy, their line calls or personality. The key is to play the ball, not your opponent. When you focus too much on your opponent, you become distracted at the task at hand. You are not able to focus on execution. Try to focus on what's important to perform successfully.
Composition is an important mental skill for athletes to learn. To stay composed during matches, be aware of when you lose composition and what causes your frustration. Use process goals instead of expectations, play each point as a new point and focus on what's important.