Staying in the Moment
‘In the Zone’ is a common term used in sport and performance. An unofficial meaning of it comes down to being fully immersed in the activity your doing. In Tennis our thoughts wander all the time with most of those thoughts attached to a negative mindset. The negative thoughts are either past thought or future thought. Past thought is often linked with depression, sadness, anger and future thought linked with anxiety.
- “I can’t believe how bad I’m playing”
- “That was the worst shot I’ve ever played”
- “I have lost every match this season”
- “I hope I can keep my lead in this set”
- “I can’t beat him/her”
- “I hope I don’t lose this match”
Clearly any of these thoughts are not positive for tennis performance. Infact spending too much time in the future or past thoughts takes you out of the moment. Playing in the moment or in the zone is the ideal state of mind to play in. Where past and future can be considered ‘thought’ if you are playing in the moment it’s really not a state of thought at all but more a state of awareness.
Play in the present
Some ways to help stay in the present are :
- Pay attention to the sounds around you and the sound of the ball
- Pay attention to the white line which is part of the tennis ball
- Pay attention to your opponent as they strike the ball
- Breath slowly. Using a ratio such as breath in 3 seconds, hold 3 seconds, breath out 6 seconds can be helpful.
Some of this ‘play in moment’ stuff sounds a bit like rubbish perhaps and more like a yoga session but in reality most people don’t play in the moment and try and think themselves through every shot, every point, every match. Most of that thinking is negative and in the past or future. The better tennis players either do this naturally better or have trained the right way enough times, to get it right in matches.
In my role the Director of Tennis at Scarborough Tennis we try to encompass different types of coaching such as working on ‘playing in the moment’ into our programs. We run kids lessons, adult lessons, adult camps, junior academy programs and private lessons. We are based in Scarborough but our tennis players also come from Karrinyup, Innaloo, Doubleview, Trigg, City Beach, North Beach, Woodlands, Wembley Downs, Gwelup and Carine.
If your not from Perth’s Sunshine Coast but have a question about your tennis game, email a video to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you back with some feedback. There is not much benefit of knowing what is wrong with your game but more importantly how you can train in way to achieve the right way or better way.