Self-confidence is a feeling of trust and judgment. It can be an all-conquering potion. Combat negativity to preserve confidence. Learn to use previous successes, visualize the future, and set realistic expectations.
Coach: Aleks Szymanski, Founder of Tennisletics, and Certified Mental Coach.
Bio: Founder of Tennisletics and tennis fanatic. Started work life as a military and search and rescue helicopter pilot. Spent the past two decades founding and nurturing fast-growing technology businesses across the globe. Competed at high-level squash, judo, and rugby. Certified Mental Coach.
Residency: Austin, TX, USA
Length: 3 min 15 sec
Self Confidence is defined as the feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities and judgment.
For tennis, genuine self-confidence can be an all-conquering potion on the court. But where does it start? Tennis confidence begins with being honest about your own strengths and then working with your coaches to figure out tactics that can utilize these strengths. You only need to look at the pro tour to see tennis players come in all shapes and sizes, and an array of playing styles.
Leveraging our strengths is a self-perpetuating prophecy. Using them makes you feel good, so that boosts your confidence. So you succeed at those critical times when you are stretched and tired, which in itself gives you more confidence.
The arch-nemesis of confidence is negativity. Psychologists reckon that 80% of our thoughts in any given day are negative. And, by default, left unchecked, that includes tennis. We need to try to combat negativity, to limit collateral damage to your self-confidence.
Sometimes in our tennis life, confidence gets lower than what we'd like. While there are no 'magic pills' to swallow to rebuild confidence, here are a few simple ways to help you on the path to recovery.
First, and this can be really powerful, is using previous successes to remind yourself that you can still do it. You've won in the past, and there's no reason why can't win again. Dig out those trophies and the post-match photos and wallow, just for a few minutes, in those winning feelings.
Another great approach to boost confidence is to visualize yourself as you want to be. Practice in your mind seeing a fantastic version of yourself on the court, playing your game, moving with purpose, hitting your strokes with authority, and winning points.
Watching a friend when they're winning can be surprisingly effective. Success on the court breeds more success. Your friends winning ways can often inspire you to be better and show you what is possible. Maybe you can play some doubles together.
Lastly, be sure you set realistic expectations for yourself. Quite often you, your coaches, your parents, your friends, set impossible goals for you to achieve. And worse, they're too quick to criticize when success doesn't immediately arrive. Tennis by his very nature is an unforgiving game of errors. Make sure that your goals are specific but achievable, so you don't unnecessarily feel devastated when you fall short.
Sustainable, long-term, injury-free success in tennis takes time. Self-confidence is born out of your strengths and trusting your abilities and judgment. Build on your past if you can. Visualize success for the future, and find ways to 'overachieve' to keep your self-confidence high.