Getting anxious/nervous during a match or before it begins… it is all normal. I lost many matches as a junior player only because I did not know how to level my state of mind while playing. There were times when I embarrassed myself losing to lower ranked players while everybody who knew me expected me to have easy matches against them… But, fortunately, along the years I became better at controlling not only my temperament on the court but my internal emotions too. Mental Tennis Lessons
Here are some of the techniques that help/ed me before and during tennis matches:
1. Control your breathing – do it slowly and deeply – visualise the air going in and then out.
2. Focus on the strings as soon as the point ends – try to clear your mind and keep the eyes on a particular spot – do not let your eyes shift for at least 10 seconds.
3. Relax your muscles – feel (imagine) your shoulders tensionless.
4. Walk slowly and with confidence.
5. If you have a ritual that makes you feel better (fixing your strings, pulling up your t-shirt sleeves, using the towel, drying your hands, etc.), stay with it.
6. Use positive talk: “I love this sport!”, “This is fun!”, “I enjoy playing!” etc.
7. Another way to relax is to sing (in a very low voice) or hum your favorite song in between points.
8. Recall a time you played very well and were happy with your game.
Obviously you don’t have to do all these techniques at once during the match. Just pick the one that works for you; I am sure that you might have one that helps you already.
As a tennis coach, I noticed that the simpler I keep the instruction for my students, the better.
One of the aspects of teaching tennis is knowing the correct grip for every tennis shot. This subject has always puzzled me and the reason is that some tennis coaches tend to explain it in a too complicated way. (Video Tennis Lessons)
We have many names for the grips: semi-western, western, full-western, continental, eastern forehand, eastern backhand etc. Some coaches insist that the certain parts of your palm should be positioned on specific areas of the racquet grip (base knuckle on the bevel 3, etc.). Ask most of the tennis pros and they will tell you that they don’t even know nor care what grip name they use. They will tell you they use the grip that FEELS RIGHT for a particular shot.
What RIGHT means?
The grip should be something that feels comfortable for each player individually. The proper grip should be the way a player holds the racquet to give her/him a good combination of control and comfort which can translate into ball speed, consistency and accuracy.
An easy way to understand how to hold the racquet is to recognize what happens at contact with the ball… Considering that at contact the racquet should be facing (more or less) the target and the hand/racquet is at a considerable distance from the body, begin understanding the grip by positioning the strings where the contact should be and hold the racquet in the most comfortable way at the grip. Then ask yourself: even though this feels right, will I be able to impart power and desired spin on the ball?
In conclusion, the proper tennis grip is based on the FEEL, which means the way you hold the racquet should provide you with effortless power and control.