Tennis is as much a psychological game as it is a physical one. There can be little difference in skill of the top tennis players therefore it’s often down to the players’ mental toughness that determines the outcome of a match.
Like with learning how to play tennis, developing your mindset is a skill that takes a great deal of practice to master.
We have given you 7 examples below of how top tennis players make use of their rituals before the tennis game even starts to give themselves a competitive edge on the tennis court.
Let yourself be inspired and feel free to integrate and/or adapt any of these into your own pre-game routine!
Music is very powerful as it allows you to tap into a new mindset instantly. You can use this to your advantage right before your next tennis match starts by listening to music that makes you feel confident and unbeatable.
Are you wondering which song to listen to? Before each match Serena Williams listens to Flashdance What A Feeling by Irene Cara.
Victoria Azarenka’s also jumps around before each match while listening to music to pump herself up.
When competing, your mindset is as important as your tennis technique. Visualisation is an extremely powerful tool that is used by all the top athletes, across all sports.
There are many different methods for visualisation, they can involve meditation, goal pictures, mantras etc. The idea is that you manifest the outcome of the match before it’s even began. This gives you a sense of confidence that you would not have if you were to walk on to the court and feel worried about what may happen.
Novak Djokovic practices meditation and mindfulness on a regular basis and says it has helped him enormously by improving his mental awareness and ability to focus in the moment during the match.
Shock your system:
Before every match, Nadal has a freezing cold shower which he says marks a point of no return. He says this makes him feel activated and powerful.
Have complete control over your surroundings:
Having a predetermined routine you stick to before the match can give you a sense of control before the match has even began.
It could be something simple, Alexandra Dulgheru always steps onto the court with her right foot first. Or it could be more elaborate, Nadal arranges two water bottles in the same place and position at the start of every game. Some people say this makes him superstitious however his response to that is “It’s a way of placing myself in a match, ordering my surroundings to match the order I seek in my head.”
Your routine could even start well before you arrive at the tennis court, like in the case of Naomi Oasaka who eats the same breakfast throughout a tournament.
Why not use your style on the court to give yourself an added boost of confidence?
Fashion is a way of expressing yourself therefore you can use your style to create a look that gives you confidence, giving you an edge against your opponent.
What do you want your clothes to say about yourself? To quote Marc Jacobs "To me, clothing is a form of self-expression - there are hints about who you are in what you wear."
Good-luck charms are very common amongst athletes. Why not wear a special piece of jewellery that you love, for good luck?
If jewelry isn’t your thing then you’re not alone, Novak Djokovic’s good-luck charm is his pet poodle Pierre which he brings to all his matches. You can follow Pierre on twitter here @pierreDjoko
Performing certain actions consistently gives you a sense of control, which can give you an edge against your opponent. The more confident you feel, the better tennis you will play!