How many of the following questions will you answer yes to?
Do you want to be more mentally tougher?
Are you enjoying playing less and less because you get frustrated thinking you should be playing better?
Are you looking for another (easier) way to play so that you can improve your game?
Do you feel you should be playing better, but no matter how hard you try, you don’t improve fast enough or at all?
Do you work way too hard on your strokes and they still don’t work very well?
Are you tired of missing easy balls, or balls you think you should have been able to hit?
Are you tired of losing close matches (choking)?
Are you are tired of losing after you are way ahead (choking)?
Do you want to learn how to play at the top of your game every time you play?
Do you want to know how you can turn your game around in literally one minute if you start to play badly?
Do you want to know why you miss a shot and how to “fix it” on the spot?
Do you get mad at yourself (which I am sure you know is unproductive) but don’t know how to stop?
If even a few of the answers to the above questions were “yes”, then you can benefit from the playing the mental game.
All these situations can be dealt with by using some easy techniques and doing the tennis drills that are found in my book Playing Zen-Sational Tennis. Although the techniques are very easy to learn, applying them takes practice. The good news is that it can be done. Even if you only do them a little bit, you will change how you feel about your game, you will enjoy it more and, God forbid, maybe even play better.
How many times do you hear how important the mental game is? I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear very many people saying they actually practice it. And I don’t hear very many people who, when asked, even know how to practice this mental game.
In my opinion, the mental side of tennis is 100% of the game. I say this because if I amputated your brain, you would not be able to play. Yeah, I know, you would be dead also. Your mind controls everything including your physical game and as you get your physical game solid you must begin to focus more and more on the mental side. However, even when people know how to practice using more of their mind, they don’t usually practice it anywhere near 100%. I would guess that if they even worked on it for 10% of their playing time that would be on the high side.
So, the 2 big questions are, “Are you willing to change the way you think about your tennis game?” And, “Are you willing to put some time into becoming really mentally tough?”
If you are willing to change, you will not get the answers to the above questions from most tennis instructors or from other books. Even the USPTA (the tennis professional organization) doesn’t have many, or even any, workshops (that I am aware of) in this area at their annual conventions. Why is this? I believe some of it is because most instructors don’t know why these things happen, how to deal with these issues, and maybe don’t even believe that this side of the game is important. Maybe too many people believe that some players just happen to “have it” mentally and that it can’t be learned. Well, I am here to tell you that you can change the way you feel about your game and become very tough mentally.
Do you think you are really ready to change the way you play? You will find out as you continue reading if the mental game is for you. This information is quite different from what most of us are taught.
Winning will take care of itself. You will win if your tennis game is better than your opponent in that match. If you want to win every match, find a 2-year-old to play and I guarantee you will usually win. My approach to tennis will help you to play at the top of your game every time, but it will not guarantee that you will play better than everyone, all the time. If you think winning is where it is at and you can’t let go of winning, these ideas will not be for you.
By not worrying about winning your whole attitude will change, you will be more relaxed on the court, feel better about how you are playing and have more fun. This will, in turn, help you win (if you play better than your opponent) because you will be playing at a higher level. Even if you don’t win, your game will improve at a faster rate, and you will know that you played your best and you will probably feel pretty good about your game.
If you like to judge yourself, your shots, how well you are doing etc. and don’t want to change, these ideas are not for you and will not work for you. One of the most important concepts is letting go of judgments. I am not saying not to be aware of what is going on and whether your balls are going in or not. I mean judgments as to whether you are doing good or bad or whether you hit a good shot or bad shot. There are no bad shots. There are only shots that didn’t go where you wanted them to go. My book will teach you how to fix these shots on the spot.
Mental toughness doesn’t happen overnight. You will need to put some energy into this way of being. As you spend time practicing and drilling using the concepts and techniques found in my book, you will find that your learning curve is accelerated.
When you miss a ball (assuming you have solid strokes), it is a mental error, not a stroke error and can be fixed mentally. Are you willing to realize that learning how to master the mental side of tennis can be more important than strokes, footwork, and physical conditioning alone?
If any of these ideas resonate with you, you can benefit from using the mental concepts and techniques found in my book, Playing Zen-Sational Tennis. In truth, anyone with an open mind about these concepts who truly makes an effort to apply them will see their tennis get better and better.
By getting my book, Playing Zen-Sational Tennis and reading it, of course, you can start on the terrific path to learning how to play up to your potential. My book is completely guaranteed (see my world class guarantee) so what do you have to lose? Well, maybe you will lose some of your “bad” shots. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
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