Psychology: Master the Mental Reset

Ok, any of this sound familiar to you??

  • You’re consistently hitting your first serve into the net: you know that you know you’re looking out, not up on the serve! Your balance went out the window.
  • You’re constantly red-lining the ball: you’re baseline errors are mounting! Your easy power went out the window and with it, your rhythm.
  • You’re dumping your volleys into the net: there’s a bad sound on the hit which means you’re not watching the ball on volleys. Your ball watching went out the window.

It’s a little more than frustrating since your basic technique is sound!

Before panic takes over, what are your options to “reset’?  How do you “reset” to get back on track to maintain your focus to watch the ball, your composure, and adapt your strategy as needed. Here’s are few suggestions:

1. Breathe Deeply: Use deep 4-7-8 breathing to calm your mind and body. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold for a moment, and then exhale through your nose. This works on your Vagus Nerve and can help lower your heart rate and clear your mind, making it easier to focus on the next point.

2. Personal Rhythm: Find your personal rhythm between points or games. Is your opponent rushing you, or worse, are you rushing yourself? Whether it’s bouncing the ball a certain number of times before serving, or walking back to the baseline in a specific way, these routines can help you find a sense of normalcy and control amidst the chaos of a match.

3. Change Your Strategy: If things aren’t going your way, be willing to adjust your strategy. This might mean changing your serve placement, varying your shot depth, or even altering your return position on the court. Flexibility is key to overcoming a tough opponent.

4. Focus on the Present: Stay in the present moment. Don’t dwell on past mistakes (you can’t change the past) or worry about the future outcome of the match (unknown at this point, right?). Focus on the here and now, and what you can control—your effort, your attitude, and your responses. Now, it’s one point at a time. And the most important point is the next one!!

Remember, resetting during a match is about regaining control over what you can influence: your mindset, your tactics, and your response to the challenges ahead. By implementing these strategies, you can maintain your composure and stay competitive throughout the match.

It’s hard enough to beat your opponent. Don’t try to also beat yourself by beating up on yourself mentally!!

Remember, it’s never over, until you shake hands!

Ps: Of course we’re presuming your technique is sound in the first place. If it’s NOT, that should be a clue to get a little “let’s get this fixed” coaching help.