Shift in momentum are often linked to a turning point (point or event), so it’s important for you to have strategies in place to either capitalise on a positive shift or minimise any damage created by a swing in the direction of your opponent.
These shift can happen gradually or suddenly. Factors such as current playing form, expectations, crowd behaviour can all contribute to the swinging, starting or breaking of momentum.
Starters can be early success, positive expectations, playing consitently. Breakers can be lack of confidence, inconstent play. Here are some guidelines for you when endeavouring to use or swing momentum to your advantage
“Practice as you would play the game”
- It is very important that you get into the mindset of ‘practice as you would play the game’. This is often overlooked by players and coaches.
- Performance is facilitated by goal setting, maintaining an appropriate perspective and focusing only on the things under your control
- Set high expectations during practice
- Play with high intensity in practice sessions
Pre-match warm up
- Use a visualisation and self-talk with affirmation such as ‘confidence’, ‘control’ … etc.
- Maintain a sameness each time you prepare to go out on to the court
- Engage in familiarity exercises such as looking around the court, visually getting in touch with the environment, walking the court, ‘feeling’ the surface and make sure you are comfortable in the setting before you start to play.
During the match
- If behind, never give up
- Maintain a positive attitude
- Focus on potential turning points (at the start of a set, at the end of a set, match point down … etc.)
- A new game, a new set is a new start
- Have hope, things can always turn around
- Rain, string breakages, and bad calls can have a big effect on the flow of the match, so be ready!
- Do not relax if you get in front!
- Use positive self-talk, ‘I am confident’, ‘I’m focused’, … to maintain your focus and control your emotions
- Keep your focus on the present
- Renew your efforts quickly after a setback
- Learn to control your energy
- Set your OWN energy level, do not copy your opponents
- Always keep your body language positive
from Tennis Psychology (2006), by M. Reid, M. Crespo and A. Quinn
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