Confidence is a huge advantage when playing tennis and is a prerequisite for success. If you lack confidence, you are practically defeated before you even walk onto the court. Confidence is the belief that you have the ability to execute the physical, technical, tactical and mental skills required during various match situations. In essence, self-confidence is your belief in your ability to succeed. So if you are looking to grow your game, you need to grow your confidence.
Tracey Covassin and Suzanne Pero examined the relationship between self-confidence and anxiety in their study, The relationship between self-confidence, mood state, and anxiety among collegiate tennis players published in the Journal of Sport Behavior (2004).
Covassin and Pero highlighted some interesting aspects of confidence in their research.
Confident tennis players believe in their ability to perform well and win. This mindset allows players to either: benefit from positive events (such as a landing a high percentage of first serves) and reduce the impact of negative events (such as bad line calls) during the tennis match.
When you have high confidence, you believe that you can influence or make a difference in the end result. When you believe your actions matter, you will train harder, be more focused, prepare better and take more risks. Confidence gives tennis players a sense of control… they are more likely to attribute the positive occurrences in the match to something that they are doing and not just luck or their opponent having a bad day.
Confident tennis players maintain a positive attitude even in the face of adversity. Confident tennis players know that, if they continue to work, they can overcome the obstacles in their path.
Confident tennis players experience significantly lower levels anxiety. Because confident athletes believe in their ability to affect outcomes, they have fewer negative expectations prior to matches.
Confident tennis players give themselves a chance to succeed even if they are matched against an opponent with superior physical skills. In fact, confident players believe they will rise to the occasion and reach new heights when playing opponents with a higher rank.
Confident tennis players are able to remain poised and relaxed under pressure. Confidence helps tennis players fight back when behind in a set and close out games when they have the lead.
Your mindset prior to the start of a match will either help or hurt. And just like any skill, the mental skill of confidence can be developed through training your mind. So the ball is in your court… Are you willing to spend the time and effort to become the player you want to become?
Strategy to Increase your Confidence
Become a strength-finder. Start defining yourself by the things you do well. You can still look to improve weaker parts of your game… just don’t put yourself down for every little mistake. After each practice and match, find three successes. Give yourself credit for three things you did well.
Improve your performance in tennis today with one-on-one mental coaching!