You Are Always Talking To Yourself On Court
What thoughts and emotions go through your mind during a match? Actually, thousands of thoughts and plenty of emotions - and these have a huge effect upon your match results on court.
Not only that, but even words you say during a match can have a major effect upon your results!
Humans think approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, and on court is no different - you talk to yourself constantly on court.
It is the quality of these thoughts which is important however - as it is now well-known that negative thoughts lead to classic problems such as fear, extreme nervousness, intimidation, lack of belief, worrying about 'uncontrollables' (ie. things out of our control), uncharacteristic errors, anger, frustration ...and so on.
This is not surprising when you discover that all of your tennis experience (ie. every stroke you have made in your lifetime) is recorded in the archives of your memory bank, and this entire 'computer file of your tennis experience' lies within your subconscious mind, right now.
Your subconscious happens to be the control-center of all movement (which makes it pretty important to your level of tournament play), and it functions just like a computer. In fact, computers were originally modelled upon the subconscious, and this mental computer is being constantly programmed by the thoughts, words, statements and emotions you use regularly on (and off) the court.
What this all means is this: Think negative thoughts during a match, and you will (generally) get a negative result. No question.
Likewise, program your mind positively with powerful words, images and emotions (and get rid of any mental roadblocks which may have been holding you back), and you will get vastly improved results. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.
This is all now common everyday knowledge, tested many times in university experiments - so this is no longer theory, it is simple truth!
Simply by changing the thoughts you think during a match may help you to transform your results in future tournaments.
So how can you do this? One of the best ways to overcome negative thoughts directly before and during a match is to use a mantra.
This is an ancient and world-renowned technique, where you simply repeat (in your mind) a few positive, powerful words - over and over again between points. This does two things; it focuses the mind onto the positive, and it prevents your mind from focusing up negative thoughts.
An example of this would be where you repeat a mantra such as 'power and control' several times in between points during your match, which keeps your mind focused and thinking positively - regardless of the point.
Then the point begins and your mind instantly goes blank again (as this is the mental state which puts you in 'the zone') - but when the point finishes, you go back into your mantra again until the next point begins.
This also helps ensure your emotions remain under control - which is essential, as frustration is one of the main reasons why players often lose the second set 6-1 after they have lost the first set 7-6! If you keep yourself mentally under control, you can wear down your opponent relentlessly, even if you lose the first set. How often do you see a score like 6-7 6-4 6-1 - pretty common!
The greatest boxer of all-time, Muhammad Ali, used "I am the greatest" as his mantra to great effect - he became the greatest boxer who ever lived.
You can just as easily make up your own mantra using your own words, but ensure you keep them short, positive (ie. no words such as 'lose'), and present-tense (eg. 'powerful and steady', not 'I will be powerful and steady'). This is very important for them to work properly (for reasons I do not have time to go into here).
So try a mantra in between points and see if it makes a difference to your results - my guess is that it will create massive improvements in your results.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
Mind Training for
Intro to Mental Training