Your mental attitude, whether positive or negative, has a major impact on your physical game, which includes your vision, timing, balance, etc. With a positive mental attitude your mind clears the way for your stroke production to operate at an optimum level. With a negative mental attitude your mind blocks the pathway to optimum play resulting in a subpar performance.
In a recent lesson I gave, the player I was coaching was having some trouble with her timing, rhythm and stroke production. Although her game did not look bad, she was struggling with her feel. After she hit 250 balls on the ball machine, we stopped and had a talk. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she did not feel right today and the same was true in a recent match. Her feel was gone!
I told her she was focused on the problem (the negative) and she was not staying positive, bouncing on her toes, letting her game go and just playing. Once she understood this she hit the court with a new mental attitude, ready to do battle. To her surprise the next 250 balls were amazing! Her old feel miraculously reappeared! She was shocked! What she had thought was a mechanical problem was simply a subtle but powerful mental attitude problem. She even mentioned that thinking in a positive fashion helped her vision. Does the way you think affect your sensory system? Yes it does!
When playing tennis your mind receives information from your sensory system, then you act spontaneously on that information. This data is in the form of sensations and feel. All tennis players play tennis on feel and not mechanics. Your mechanics work because your sensations are coming through loud and clear to your mind. If these are not coming through clearly, your vision, balance and sensory functions will be hampered.
Think of it this way. Imagine there is a pipeline going from your mental attitude to your sensory system. Through that pipeline travels the signals that give your mind that special feel. If you have a positive mental attitude (even when things are going poorly) that pipeline remains clear. When the pipeline is open and receiving those beneficial signals without interference, the result is your optimum performance.
If your mental attitude becomes negative, you clog up that pipeline with negative junk that prevents those beneficial signals from reaching your mind. This affects your senses resulting in a less than optimum performance, or even a completely dismal performance, depending on the extent of the negative junk.
The solution is to unclog the pipeline and keep it unclogged through all of the ups and downs of play. You have total control of your mind; you control whether the pipeline stays open or begins to clog up. Perhaps a little mental attitude Drano is necessary! Tell yourself to stop focusing on those negatives, mistakes and failures that only block your best play.
Your Tennis Pro,