The applications of sports psychology for tennis and other individual sports is growing as awareness of the importance of mental and emotional skills and the availability of training in these areas is increasing.
In applying sports psychology for tennis players I draw on my skills as a psychologist, training as a cognitive therapist and experience as a former high school and collegiate tennis player, coach and tennis teacher.
Because sports like tennis and golf are individual sports, the player is always in the center of attention – being scrutinized and judged from their play to their physical appearance and behaviors. In addition, these sports in particular, require concentration for long periods of time. For example, a tennis match can last two to three hours and a golf match from four to five.
Fortunately, there are skills for learning to cope with pressure and develop concentration the same way there are skills for learning how to hit a forehand and serve. I have developed many ideas and exercises to help tennis players deal with specific areas of the game such as dealing with choking, managing mistakes, coping with poor play, handling bad calls, coming back when behind and closing out matches. Many of these suggestions are included in my mental conditioning CD-Rom, TennisMind, available on the products page of www.mentalskillstennis.com.
Sports psychology for tennis is especially important to young tennis players who are coping with issues of school, relationships and parents in addition to competing for a ranking, spot on a team or an eventual college scholarship or possibly pro career.
South Florida is a haven for tennis, golf and so many outdoor sports. I have found that in teaching sports psychology for tennis, I am often able to impart important life skills that will benefit the athlete off the court and help them in their lives for years to come.