22 Feb Mentality and its monitoring in tennis
Sport Idea, using the SportMind tool, will take care of mental monitoring of the players from Beskidzki Tennis Club Advantage in Bielsko Biała. This club took second place in the PRO ranking of tennis clubs in Poland in 2019. Sport Idea will also support the training staff in interpreting the results of the SportMind diagnosis.
Tennis, as an individual sport, generates different challenges and types of stress than team sports. There the teammates can help to win the match, for example by taking over some of the tasks or sometimes the coach from the bench by choosing a tactical move. Here the player on the court is alone and all responsibility lies on him. The player must take many decisions in a short period of time. During the game the player cannot leave the court for longer and cannot consult with the coach. The scoring system makes it impossible for a player to feel safe at any time of the match, and it is not known when it will exactly end. What is more, it is a very engaging sport, and bringing up a tennis player is very expensive. All these factors strongly influence the players’ psyche. What do players need in terms of mentality? The answer to this question you will find in the following article.
The bumpy way to success in tennis
Advertising contracts and the amounts won at the tournaments work on the imagination of parents and their children. However, tennis is very demanding, not only in tactical and physical terms, but mainly in mental terms. Without taking care of this sphere it is difficult to achieve spectacular success.
– Hundreds of thousands of children and parents around the world dream of a career in professional tennis. Rivalry in this sport involves a player mentally in the game against another player, but sometimes this sphere also works against him. The mental state and the resulting mental form has a significant impact on the physical form of the athlete, which can be seen many times at competitions. SportMind has proven its accuracy in diagnosing the mental sphere of athletes more than once. This is shown by examples of athletes from various sports disciplines. Now this tool has an opportunity to prove itself also in tennis – says Dariusz Szostek, President of Sport Idea, as well as a SportMind consultant and coach.
Important mental skills in tennis
When do players play their best tennis? When they can take away all their problems and worries, so they can only be “here and now”. The body then plays itself, i.e. it reacts automatically to the situation on the court using repeated moves and reflexes. The less thinking the better. The sport happens by itself and this “automated” state is called “flow” or “being in the zone”.
It is characterized by, among other things:
- High self-confidence,
- Concentration and physical relaxation
- Internal calm despite being under pressure,
- The joy of playing a game that happens as if it were alone
SportMind helps to monitor the current mental states of players over a longer period of time and enables analysis of their changes and trends.
The importance of mental training
Each person requires individually selected mental work. Young athletes in each age group or professional athletes are treated differently. At the championship level, when the physical abilities of athletes are at a similar level (physical preparation is comparable), mental preparation is of particular importance. During long hours of play it is one of the few spheres that can be improved during a match. In the long term many aspects of the mental sphere can be continuously improved.
However, mental training is not given as much attention as training of technique, tactics and physical preparation. What is the main reason for this? Is it a misconception that mental preparedness is inborn and unchangeable, or is it difficult to find the right person (mental trainer, sports psychologist) who specializes in a given sport. Maybe it is also a belief that if mental skills were not needed in the past, why should they be needed now?
Players who have a great love for sport and will not be pushed to the court or the pitch have the best basis for building a future profession. There should be an atmosphere of fun based on task performance, and players must learn basic mental skills such as: maintaining an appropriate level of motivation, concentration, relaxation techniques, visualization, emotional control in difficult situations, using, among others, rituals, the concept of optimal state of arousal, or the latest achievements of sports psychology or related fields.
Author: Magdalena Nowak