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Understanding The Psychology Of Tennis

Apr 23, 2008
Tennis psychology is actually very simple and is comparable to any other individual or team sport. Basically, it is the understanding of your own capabilities and skills and those of your opponent's mind plus the effect of your game on your opponent's psychological viewpoint coupled with an insight the overall effects on him.

Each and every one of your action must be gauged and calculated to produce a particular and specific effect or reaction from your opponent. Conversely, you have to know your reaction to the same stimuli - only then can you harness your game psychology to your utmost advantage. There is no way you can successfully employ game psychology to your advantage if you can not analyze your own actions and reactions. The very first step therefore is to know yourself - your capabilities, skill level, temperament, coolness under pressure, so on and so forth.

Once you have accomplished this, you can then start on analyzing your opponents one by one. How do they react to varying situations and their types of play? What do their playing styles say about their mental character? Are they comfortable simply by returning every stroke? DO they take chances in rushing the net when presented with the opportunity? Do they serve and volley? Are they simply content with a baseline game? You have to find out all of these from your own game and theirs in order to be able to predict what would happen if the rhythm is suddenly broken!

A careful observation of an individual's playing style can only be possible if you study your own style first. And since mental processes and the human mind works along specific lines of thought - you can control your game by forcing your opponent out of his game's comfort zone.

As soon as you have identified your own mental and physical playing style, you can then begin on working on your game and making the necessary adjustments. This is to prepare yourself for the inevitability of playing against someone who has the same physical and psychological preparations as you have.

When you have reached this point of preparation and are already alert to every personal and emotional quirks your opponent display, you can start on developing your game that best suits your playing style and athleticism.

Remember that before any tennis match both men have equal chances of winning their match. However as soon as a player establishes a lead in the first set, a great psychological advantage is already achieved over the opponent. The player with the advantage gains confidence and his opponent begins to worry. However, if the second player ties the game, either one can still control the outcome of the game based on their psychological preparedness.

As Sun Tzu says in his book The Art of War, "If you know yourself but not your opponent, you have an even chance of winning. If you do not know yourself and your opponent, you will always lose but if you know your opponent and know yourself, you can fight a hundred battles without disaster."
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