Some of the top professionals have cited that by visualising exactly how you want to play your shots or see a match unfold instils belief. It also reduces stress and focuses concentration, aiding your on-court performance.
What Is Visualisation?
Visualisation is the creation of an experience in the mind, which involves drawing upon the memory of a previous event in order to mentally practise events that have yet to occur. Such as the serve you are about to make, the return you are about to hit, or even future matches you want to win.
Scientists have agreed that visualisation training can enhance performance in a whole range of sports including tennis.
See Your Way To Success
Through repetition and practise, visualisation skills are best developed when included as part of coaching lessons or general training sessions, and used during match breaks. You may find it easier to first practise these skills away from the court.
On court, one of the best ways to use visualisation is before a serve or before a return of serve. When you have time to pause you can visualise:-
- Your swing
- The bounce of the ball
- The type of service
- When you want to place the ball in the opponent’s court
- Your opponent’s expected return
- Your next movement
- Your second shot
Top pro’s often play an air-shot when they have made a mistake on court, this is a way of replaying the shot in their mind, but hitting the ball correctly.
Before a big game try the following techniques to mentally prepare yourself for the game.
- Close the eyes and inhale deeply, imagine you are getting more and more relaxed with each breath.
- Imagine your arrival on the court, take in everything around you from sight to hearing experiences, and notice how you feel inside.
- Imagine the warm up, stretching, cycling and moving about the court.
- Imagine the feel of the racket, the weight and balance. Then hitting a ball exactly where you want it to go.
- Make positive comments to yourself, “I feel good” “I feel strong today”.
- Imagine the start of the match, your serve and tossing the ball high, then delivering an ace.
- Also imagine a short rally and how you move, breathing easily and hitting your strokes cleanly.
- Picture yourself on the baseline, with your opponent facing you.
- Visualise yourself bouncing the ball, relaxing as you do so.
- Imagine the toss, high and smooth, in the right position.
- Imagine your swing as you take the racket behind your back then up and out in front of you.
- Imagine making the perfect contact with the ball as your body, arm and racket are in alignment.
- Hear the sound of the ball on the racket strings and the whoosh as the ball rushes through the air and then lands in the exact spot you had imagined.
- See your opponent beaten easily as the ball screams past them.
To some extent most players already use visualisation in their game, normally before a serve. However, with practise and training you can really accelerate the benefit of this mental tool into your game and add yet another dimension to your play.