3 tips to become better mentally

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How can we be stronger mentally? The Tecnimag has some advices for you

Your level of play can be taken one step higher by focusing your attention on playing every point with the same intensity.

Frustration tennis


With a specific method, your focus can quickly increase. No matter what you are thinking, you are probably not playing every point with the same intensity. Are you aware that you are more concerned by the game or set point than one point at a time?

Many moments of the match can cause this decrease of mental intensity. For example, after I won the 1st set, I often slow down and starts making unforced errors. When I am easily leading, I mentally check out of the match. 

Or what about those moments of frustration after missing an easy shot? Perhaps even a good luck from my opponent? In two minutes, you can remember these moment and end up losing 3 games in a row. A lot of players deal with this problem without knowing how to avoid it.  
The first step is to help them to become aware of this decrease of focus. Simply by leaving his comfort zone a little bit more every day, he can learn how to condition his mental state on the court without any help.

3 clues to progress

1st key : Define the objectives

1/ Questions to be settled

To begin well, it is necessary to ask yourself good questions first, and to answer it sincerely, having taken time for reflection:

  • Why do I train?
  • Why I make competition?
  • What are my objectives in means and long term?

These questions can seem simple at first glance. They are however deeper than they have air of it.

And answers to these questions lead to make decisions which are needed to construct adequate plan intelligently.

2/ Defining your objectives: methodology

A good objective has to be ambitious, but also to remain reachable. What is discouraging than a search which seems impossible?

Progress is stage-by-stage made, and objectives follow the same logic.

You can therefore define objectives in short, medium and long-term to accompany your progress.

Your level of play can be taken one step higher by focusing your attention on playing every point with the same intensity.



Good practices:

  • Think of writing your objectives black on white and of noting your progress. This stage will help you to make them more concrete and reals.
  • Note your objectives in positive terms so that it is recovering from tournaments and from chore.
  • It is important to settle of objectives of performance and not only of results. Respecting a plan of game is sometimes more important than victory itself. It could help you to win all the following ones !

2nd key: Be more constant in training

Usually, your child makes a lot of unforced errors during training and that don’t disturb him. Paradoxically, those same errors make him mad during matches. The idea is to reverse this process. Don’t accept any errors during training, but be tolerant during matches

1/ How can you do it during practice? 

It’s very important to have a precise intention behind every shot. I play every zone with the quality, speed, effect, and direction that I choose. 

It is important to say no after every error and making the effort to fix your mistake on the following ball. Be sure to focus on your footwork, because if your placement is good you will make less and less unforced errors.

90% of the unforced errors are the result of a bad process. Consider when: 

  • You play without any intention
  • Your placement is not preciseMental tennis
  • The shot played is missing engagement 

Tip: play an entire practice with only two balls, pushing you to change your habits and go out of your comfort zone.

2/ Learn how repetitively have good series

Frequently, you slow down after a good game or a good set and easily drop a few points to your opponent because you are not there mentally. 

How can you do it during practice?

A good point or a good series should challenge you to love to reproduce the good sequences. 

Playing the same shot 2, 3 or even 10 times is something that takes a special effort of focus. Identify the purpose of repetition, then by trying, failing, and trying again you will begin to gain awareness.

Tip: the serve work is an excellent way to reinforce your capability to reproduce good series. Choose a service zone based on your level and try to put the ball in it 10 times in a row. After every mistake restart at 0. 

3rd key : Improving solidity in match

1/ Getting closer to the ideal state of performance (ISP)

The ideal State of performance defines itself by 5 elements:

  • A form of amnesia which leads the sportsman to play in a quasi-automatic, instinctive way.
  • An element concentration /dissociation which means that the athlete is completely centered, focalized on his competition, with the deduction of all what outside.
  • A detachment of pain which leads the athlete to augment its tolerance in pain.
  • A perceptive change which defines itself by demonstrations of trance, of distortion of time, of distortion of reality.
  • A hard feeling of power and of control.

Every tennis player has dreamt about feeling that kind of state, and if it is difficult to achieve in the absolute, it is possible to set elements up to try to get closer to it as often as possible.

Our 10 advice to get closer to the Ideal State of Performance

Before and after the match

  • Note your objectives on this match inwriting (plan of game, emotional management …)
  • Take 10 minutes to discharge you and to try you in mental visualization (how to perform a gesture, a tactical sequence, how to manage a break point…)
  • Warm up of a pushed way (pronunciations, muscles) to arrive the readiest possible on the court
  • Assessing of your match by taking back your notes of departure to prove that you respected well your objectives. Every match, that he ends in a defeat or a victory, must be first of all a training for the following!
  • Encircle you with positive persons, sharing your plan and your objectives

During the match

  • Think of breathing well, in a deep and regular way, to manage tiredness and stress
  • Always remain focalized on the present moment. Do not think of things and external problems
  • Set small routines Up (maybe not as much as Rafael Nadal) to re-concentrate you right away on the following point
  • Focalize you on the positive elements. You made a rude error in backhand? Keep especially the previous very good forehand.
  • Optimize the time of rest and of recovery between points to stabilize you physically and emotionally

2/ Learn how to break a negative spiral

We’ve all been through a series of points or games with a bad attitude, frustration, or anger. What process should you set up to get out of this negative spiral?

In these moments of tension, the solution is to find positive things that will guide you in the right direction. 

But how can I implement this in a match? 

If I am in the first set, for example, and I’m playing badly, I must keep thinking that the match is not over and accept the fact I wasn’t at my best at the start. 

The second set is a new challenge to figure out. There’s still a chance, so I must step it up and play this chance like it’s my last. 

Looking for an opening will help you to get to something else and get away from a frustrating moment. 

It’s a process that allows you to come back to the present, forgetting the frustration and looking forward

I made a good forehand, I won a tough rally, my opponent is missing a lot on the backhand side, an opening is motivating me and I’m able to come back in the match. 

The habit of having clear intentions in my shots, the capacity to be present at every time on the court, my resilience in the match and being able to forget frustrating moments are all performance levers. 

In the same way that becoming technically or physically strong takes time and requires a lot of work, becoming mentally strong is a long process. 

Don't judge you. Take up challenges and get away from your comfort zone by entrusting you to skilled professionals.


Pierre Bayssat :  For 5 years as a physical education teacher in high school, I tried to pass on a love of physical activity to the greatest number. 
Then, my passion for performance led me to tennis, so I went into player’s training. 
So I passed the 1st and 2nd level state certificates, taught tennis in club then the French Tennis Federation asked me to become federal coach. I work today as Deputy CEO of Tecnifibre.