Whether you need to win the next set in a close match, your match is outside in ninety-degree weather, or you are playing through some minor injuries, you will encounter some sort of difficulty in your tennis career. It is going to happen. Mental toughness is going to be the factor that will dictate whether or not you can rise to the occasion and play your best despite adversity. Difficult situations are going to arise, and you need to have the mental fortitude to overcome any adversity that you meet. To build mental toughness, you have to put yourself in difficult situations so that you can learn to cope and overcome. Here are 5 challenges to help you develop mental toughness.
- 100 serves at 5 am
Waking up early is difficult. It is so much easier to allow yourself to sleep just a little bit longer. Forcing yourself to get up out of bed and get some extra reps in is going to help you learn to perform when you are tired and uncomfortable. Get up early and get 100 serves in, and you can take confidence in that fact that you were practicing while the person you are competing against chose to hit the snooze button.
- Scrimmage against players that you are not sure you can beat
We naturally try to take the option with the least difficulty. You have to force yourself to be challenged. In practice, when you are scrimmaging, it is so easy to choose to go with the teammate that you know you can beat without trying. Force yourself to go up against someone you are not sure you can beat. Instead of opting for the easy practice partner, force yourself to be pushed.
- Play an extra set right after practice
After practice, when everyone is tired and heading home, that is when you have to grab a partner and get an extra set in. Mental toughness is all about pushing yourself forward when you are tired and hurting. You should not look to fall in line and be content with the amount of work that everyone else did. You should be looking for that little bit extra even though you’re tired. So, when everyone else is ready to pack it in, you always have that extra set in you.
- Get in extra reps of your least favorite drill
What are the holes in your game? Your least favorite drills are likely the ones that emphasize those aspects. Maybe you have a weak serve, are out of shape, or have a problem with your backhand. Get in extra reps of that least favorite drill. Forcing yourself to do your least favorite drill is not only going to close that hole in your game, but it will also get you used to pushing yourself even though you are doing something that you do not enjoy.
- Go for a run before practice
When building mental toughness, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be content putting in the same amount of work that everyone else is doing. Not only is getting a run in before practice going to get you into excellent shape, but it is going to make you push yourself in practice even though you have already gotten your first workout in.
Improving your mental toughness is going to allow you to go to places your opponent is not willing to go! Force yourself to find adversity and keep going!