This article explains how proper tennis exercise and conditioning can minimize or eliminate tension and anxiety before all your matches, It provides you with a quick and simple process for completely changing your mindset and attitude before a match. Although the process explained here is simple, it does assume that you are physically prepared for your match through proper physical conditioning and your on-going tennis exercise routines. In short, the physical and mental parts of a complete tennis game are inseparable.
The payback from learning and applying this technique can be substantial, especially if you are prone to excessive pre-match "jitters". Your nervousness will be eliminated which will give you that much more time to focus on the technical side of your tennis game and your physical conditioning.
This proven system starts with visualizations. Try closing your eyes and imagine yourself in a stressful situation during a tennis match. Once you have that mental image and are starting to actually feel the tension inside, follow the steps below to get your anxiety under control. You may not see maximum results your first few times through the exercise, but if you are consistent with applying the technique, you should notice a significant reduction in your tension and anxiety both before and during your matches.
Here are the steps to this anxiety reduction training regime:
1. First off you MUST identify the specific anxiety issue. Examples might be tension, anxiety, nervousness, doubt or fear. The more specifically you can identify the issues, the better this technique will work.
2. Now rate the intensity of your anxiety issue (s) use a simple 1 – 10 scale so that you have a base starting point to measure against.
3. Next, as close as you can, identify the source of your tension and / or anxiety. Try to be specific.
4. Find your "positive focus" and then familiarize yourself with your "tapping points" (explained below).
a. Your positive focus is a sound, an image, a phrase or just a word that you will be using at each of your tapping points.
b. Tapping points are physical areas of the body that are proven to relieve tension. They include:
- the eyebrow point: the inside end of your eyebrow
- the side of eye: the inside end of your eyebrow
- under the eye: the bone right below your eye
- collarbone / neck: the 2 bony notches at the base of your neck (where the knot of a man's tie would be located)
- double wrists: the insides of your wrists
c. Now that we've identified your positive focus and your tapping points, tap each point with one or more fingers between 5 and 10 times. Light to medium quick taps are all you need. The whole process shouldn't take more than 5 seconds.
REMEMBER : Stay focused on your anxiety or stress source during this first round.
d. Now do a second round of the tapping exercise, but this time focus on the positives, the good outcomes that you are about to make happen.
5. Next, take a few deep breaths and exhale slowly
6. Now, using your 1 – 10 rate the intensity of the anxiety and tension. The majority of people will experience at least some decrease even after just one round of this exercise. Now repeat Step 4, the "positive focus" and "tapping points" process a few times and measure your decrease in tension and anxiety (1- 10).
7. Perform additional rounds (if needed). The goal is to get your anxiety level down to zero.
It's a good idea to keep a journal of your progress using this mental tennis conditioning technique, just like you would with your tennis exercise regime so that you can refer to it and actually know that it is working for you. There is no better motivator than seeing improvements in both your physical and mental tennis preparedness.