Ask any great tennis player like Jimmy Connors, winner of 8 Grand Slam titles, and you will be informed that tennis is a mental game first and a physical game second – or as Connors say it, tennis is 90 percent mental.
There are many instances where I observed technically well-trained tennis players faltered during their matches. It is very sad to see them losing their tennis confidence in the crucial part of their matches.
Recently I was reading book called "NLP-The New Technology Of Achievement" edited by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner. It is a great book where the authors shared many exercises that have helped millions of people overcome fears, increase confidence, enrich relationships, and achieve greater success.
As such, I would like to share one of the exercises that I find it very useful to help you gain your tennis confidence whenever you want.
The most effective method of increasing your sense of confidence during tennis games is the so-called Circle of Excellence, a mental technique derived from Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Keep in mind that the Circle of Excellence assumes that the physical ability is already in place but the mental ability requires enhancement.
Keep in mind, too, that the steps involved in the Circle of Excellence must be practiced ahead of time of the tennis match. Give your full attention to the exercise so that you can easily draw upon its benefits at will and you may even be able to impart valuable tennis confidence tips to younger players!
Step 1: Relive Moment of Confidence
Find a quiet place where you can relax while performing the steps that follows. Stand up, breathe deeply for a few minutes, and just relax while also making your mind as blank as possible.
Let yourself remember the time when you were filled with self-confidence – no self-doubts and no second-guessing – about your abilities and capabilities. For example, think of times where your serve is so fluid and powerful that your aced your opponent many times in the match. You can also recall times where your groundstrokes were effortless and accurate. Let your memory be so vivid that you will feel as if you have been transported back in time! Let yourself see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt on that moment in time.
Step 2: Build Circle of Excellence
You need to take the time to create an image of your Circle Of Excellence that is right for you, and then attach it to that confident feeling in Step 1.
Next, imagine a large colored circle around your feet; experts suggest about 3x2 feet diameter circle, which you can also draw on the floor for your first exercise. Let your confidence continue building while you are inside the circle – imagine yourself successful, powerful, and happy, among other positive thoughts to boost your confidence.
Then when your tennis confidence is at its fullest level, you must physically step out of the circle while leaving behind your confident feelings inside of it. This is an unusual request but you will realize the reason for it.
Step 3: Select the Cues
When you are outside the circle, your next step is to select a specific cue for the specific time in the future when you want to enjoy the same level of confidence in yourself as a great tennis player. Your cue may be:
Just choose the cue that will serve as the signal for your confident feelings to come back regardless of your location. Be sure to choose cues that you will notice just before you want to have your resource confident feeling available.
Step 4: Linking the Cues
As soon as your chosen cue is firmly embedded in your mind, you should step back into the circle. Let the feelings of confidence come back into your mind and body again – your adrenaline rush upon hitting the ball, your powerful return on the serve, and your score on the set, for example. This way you are connecting your Circle Of Excellence to the same cues that used to indicate a problem situation.
Step 5: Check the Results
When you have creatively visualized your confidence, you can step outside of the circle while still leaving your feelings inside. You can then think about the results of your mental exercise in terms of its efficacy.
With practice, you will be able to recall at will your confident feelings while inside the imaginary circle. This is known as your resource state wherein a simple cue can boost your tennis confidence, which will translate to your improved physical ability.
I firmly believed that anything worth doing, is worth doing badly... at first. If you were not successful or partially successful in this exercise, try doing it over again, paying close attention to each step.
Let me know your results by putting your feedback in the comment box below.