If you REALLY put your mind to it you will be far more successful in whatever you do. The biggest problem for every tennis player is that they are NOT trained and skilled enough in the most important aspect of tennis, the mental game. The first step for you to take in your OnCourt Advantage mental skills training program is to realise that concentration is the cornerstone of the mental game.
The first step in becoming a master of concentration is to discipline your mind to focus on the critical task of visually tracking the ball. The picture above is a perfect example for you to learn from. WOW, look at Roger Federer’s mental focus, his mind is certainly on the task. One of the greatest player’s of all time is relaxed and watches the ball all the way into his racquet.
One of the main causes of all errors is not visually tracking the ball well enough. The good news is that everybody can learn to improve their concentration by using this mental skills training process. No doubt, this requires an increased mental effort but it makes all the difference in the world to your game.
This concentration skill training process has two components that must be executed.
Step 1: FOCUS
Try to really focus on the ball by:
- Looking for the seam of the ball;
- Looking for the label printed on the ball;
- Looking to see the spin of the ball; and
- Making the ball stand out from all of the background details.
Step 2: THE CYCLE
Try to use step 1 to visually track the ball throughout the entire cycle. In simple terms, one cycle is the entire time that the ball travels from one player’s racquet to their opponent’s racquet and all the way back to the first player’s racquet again.
The cycle when your opponent is serving to you is:
- Once the ball leaves the server’s hand;
- As it goes upwards, reaches it’s peak height and then drops back down to be struck;
- As soon as the ball heads off the server’s racquet and all of the way towards you;
- As it clears the net, begins to descend, the bounce and as it comes up to you;
- All the way into your racquet; and
- From your racquet all of the way back to the server’s racquet.
As soon as the ball strikes your opponent’s racquet then the first cycle is complete and the second cycle commences and so on. It is critical to repeat the same process for each and EVERY cycle.
Do not stress if you cannot see the specific details of the ball. As long as you are making your best effort to try to focus on the four parts in step 1, then your level of concentration will improve immediately.
The key is to strive to focus on each cycle so much that you achieve these effects:
- You feel like the ball appears bigger;
- You feel like you have more time to play your shots; and
- You feel like the ball is moving slower than it seemed to be before.
If absolutely anything interferes with or breaks your concentration, make sure you redirect your full attention back to the above mental skills training process. Improve the mental skill of concentration by using step 1 and step 2 and you will definitely have the OnCourt Advantage.
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