Would you like to improve your tennis game? Then you have to
improve your concentration. I have been asked many times, "What
can I do to help my concentration in a match?" To be honest,
this question always befuddles me. It supposes that concentration
is some fleeting mental state one has no control over, and that
concentration is lost somewhere outside the individual's
thinking and they don't seem to know how to find it or where
to find it! I always feel like it warrants an answer from me
like, "It's over there on the shelf next to the soup! Go get
it, prepare yourself a cup of concentration, drink it and then
play your match."
In short, my answer is, "to help your concentration in a match,
Frankly I don't know how players lose concentration in a match
so easily. In my matches, at different times and in different
situations, I was always thinking about the mental balance of
the match. I was thinking about the score, how to play my
opponent on a given point, what my opponent was trying to do to
win, what I could do to counter his strategy, how could I
surprise him, how to keep him off balance, should I add extra
pressure now or should I back off a little, what weakness can
I exploit, where will he hit the ball next, does he change his
pattern under pressure, is he predictable under pressure, etc.,
etc., etc. Well, you get my point.
I was so preoccupied with all of these match play situations
that I didn't have time NOT to concentrate! I suggest you learn
to do the same. You may be whining, "but that takes a lot of
energy and discipline." Bingo! You have the true answer to
learning concentration - IT DOES TAKE MENTAL ENERGY TO BE
The key to tennis is consistency, the key to consistency is
concentration, and the key to concentration is SELF-DISCIPLINE.
Concentration is not on a shelf somewhere, it's in your mind.
YOU control it through SELF-DISCIPLINE! You discipline yourself
to keep concentrating whether you are tired, have a bad line
call, or your mind begins to wander, or you are playing poorly.
You need to pull yourself back into focus to concentrate on the
essentials like handling your failures, handling the up and
down cycles, staying relaxed and remembering "the next shot is
more important than the last mistake." Use SELF-DISCIPLINE to
train yourself to concentrate every time you step on the tennis
court and you will add a dimension to your game that few
players have mastered. Why shouldn't YOU be one of them?!