Visualization Will Increase Your Inner Belief
One of the biggest problems I have found facing most tennis players is a distinct lack of real belief in their own ability.
I am not talking about external confidence (which is simply a brave face put on for competitors!), I mean real inner belief that you truly KNOW that can win, and beat those top seeded players.
This is a feeling which cannot be faked, and which is absolutely essential when it comes to serving out that last game against a favored player. Those who cannot seem to serve these games out are simply missing this inner belief which is required to reach the upper levels of tennis.
A lack of real belief in oneself creates a mental approach of fear, which cause a whole variety of different problems for players during matches, the most common ones being:
a deep inner feeling of not being good enough
practicing brilliantly but playing badly when it counts
negative thoughts - of all types!
difficulty sleeping the night before
worrying about small details which may never occur (uncontrollables)
intimidated by opponents, and even future opponents
unusual or silly mistakes during a match
regularly recurring problems in tournaments
dislike of competing at particular courts
not looking forward to tournaments
jealousy of other players
Once players gradually begin to believe in themselves, these symptoms often disappear completely or reduce substantially, allowing positive feelings of confidence, anticipation and yes, even a general feeling of happiness and eagerness to fill your mind and body during a match. This is a far better mental preparation for a strong performance.
Don't get me wrong, however, nervousness before a match is not a bad thing! It's a sign that you are psyched up and ready to go. (So don't get nervous if you're nervous!!) It's only extreme nervousness that most players can do without before a match.
So what is the best way I know to begin to create belief in yourself and your own ability?
Daily visualization. Novak Djokovic recently said about it "I believe in the power of the mind and visualization, which is a big part of my everyday life". Let me explain, this is all you have to do. Every day for 5 minutes (or even if just for a few minutes) vividly imagine in your mind the absolute perfect match you wish to play at your next tournament, as if it is really happening right at that very moment.
This literally programmes your subconscious mind for success (much like a computer), it's a form of self-hypnosis which is very safe, easy and it works brilliantly.
A crucial element - when you visualize playing a match in your mind, use all your senses - imagine seeing the players, court and surroundings, all in their respective colours, and hear the sounds of people cheering you. Most of all - feel that amazing joy of victory when you win the match.
If you do this every day for around 5 minutes, you will gradually notice a shift in your confidence levels before and during matches, and your results will begin to steadily improve. I don't have the space to tell you how this works, except to say that this creates a mental program (or blueprint) in the area of your mind that is the control-center of all of your body's movements.
Now the only trick to it is this - it's only the truly dedicated players who will do this every day. This very quickly sorts out the serious players from the ones who just wish they were better, but are not willing to do anything about it. Are you willing to try this for 5 minutes a day? If you do, you may well discover a whole range of extra benefits from it as well, which even go far beyond tennis.
There are many important aspects to visualization which you should know about (I could probably write 100 pages on this topic alone), but some of the important aspects it can be used for are to:
overcome extreme nervousness
learn new technical skills far more easily and quickly eg. a new service action
overcome and conquer intimidation, criticism and cheating from competitors
dramatically increase your own inner self-belief
increase your energy, enthusiasm and motivation
relax easily and quickly
banish negativity, and sustain positivity
recover from illness and injuries more quickly
learn to make contact with the sleeping giant inside you, your subconscious
and many, many others
But that's all in the future - begin today, find a quiet place for 5 minutes and start your daily mental training routine. Be patient and persistent, and the results will come - they always do.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
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The Power of Belief
“Tennis is a mental game. Everyone is fit, everyone hits great forehands and backhands.”
"I remember as a kid, I was improvising and making little trophies out of different materials and going in front of the mirror, lifting the trophies and saying 'Nole was the champion!'