5 Characteristics of a Successful Tennis Mindset
- Passion- Don’t play tennis for your friends, or your parents, or because you just want to win. You want to play tennis because you love it and you’re passionate about it. If you truly love playing tennis, then it’s not going to seem like work for you, it’s going to be enjoyable. Boris Becker, a German tennis player, says “I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I Love to play.” He’s saying no matter if he wins or loses, he ultimately loves playing tennis, and that mindset helped him become one of the best tennis players of his time. Find your passion in your love for the game.
- Courage- Having courage helps you feel comfortable taking risks. However, taking risks is not always easy to do because it can sometimes lead to failure, consequently causing criticism and self-doubt. However, courageous athletes don’t preoccupy themselves with the fear of failure. They take risks anyway and try everything they can to make sure that risk is going to lead to success. Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer, says, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” Taking risks can be scary or playing in a championship match can be scary, and that’s ok.
Playing aggressive tennis (with smart targets) in matches is one of the hardest things a player must learn to do. Overcome your fear and compete with aggressive courage to play those tough opponents and high pressure matches!
- Vision- Having good vision means you literally have an image of what you want for the future and how you plan on getting there. It’s helpful to create a long-term goal for yourself, and then set smaller goals to help you work your way up to the long-term goal.
Literally using visualization is a great tool to help with this. You can use visualization in a big picture goal, as well as prior to and during competition. Many Olympic athletes use visualization right before they compete, which helps them get focused on the competition. Muhammad Ali, the infamous boxer, explains: “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside of them: a desire, a dream, a vision.” Having the vision for what you want in the future is going to help you develop the mindset you need to make that vision a reality.
Want to play college tennis? See yourself there! Want to develop a 130 mph serve, visualize yourself hitting them! Want to attack this second serve, visualize a snapshot in your mind right before the point.
- Resilient- Resilience means that you can bounce back after a mistake, or setback, or adversity. A setback could be something as small as a mis-hit or a larger setback like playing a whole season without winning a single match. Being resilient means that you still believe you will be able to succeed, even after you’ve experienced those setbacks. The old Japanese Proverb says, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” It literally means even if you face a challenge, don’t let it stop you. If you continuously experience setbacks, don’t let any of them stop you – just continue pushing through them. There will always be setbacks but you need to be ready to face them head-on.
- Confident- Focusing on all the good things about you and your abilities will help you stay confident in yourself. However, if you dwell on past mistakes or shortcomings, then you won’t feel confident in yourself. You should know what your strengths are in your game and allow them to give you confidence. Make an effort to see mistakes and shortcomings only as learning opportunities, and not as negatives that bring you down. Only focus on the positive things. Stan Smith, a professional tennis player, says, “Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.” You could dedicate countless hours of practice and training and have all the skills you need to succeed, but if you aren’t confident in your skills and abilities, then you can’t execute them successfully. Always be confident in your skills, your ability to improve, and your ability to achieve your goals.