My feeling is that every player has two chances to make a shot happen. You are playing a match and miss a forehand, many times a player will grimace, sound off a few choice words and continue playing. This is a missed opportunity. The player could stop reflect immediately on the shot technically and tactically in their mind as they are walking back to serve or receive for the next point. This is a great time to visualize doing the shot correctly.
This type of positive reinforcement helps a player actually learn and stay focused as opposed to spiraling down a negative path. You see Pros all the time looking at their racquet as they are slowly walking back to play the next point. The majority of the time, they have reflected on the prior shot, visualizing it in a better way and getting ready for the next point. Stay positive and keep good body language. Your opponent sees and feels encouraged when and if you are consistently displaying negative emotions.
Many times a match can be won just by attitude alone. If you are playing doubles, staying positive lifts the team’s spirits as opposed to bringing yourself and your partner down. Be a good visualizer and work on avoiding, or at least realizing the negative self-talk in the mind. The most difficult thing to remember is to remember to visualize after each shot and to stay positive. The mind behaves on past conditioning which takes courage and perseverance to learn new conditioning. This is not an over-night process. Be patient with yourself and mindful of your emotions in a match.
Director of Racquet Sports