Psychology of General Tennis
Tennis psychology is nothing more than understanding your opponent’s thought processes, measuring the impact of…
Tennis psychology is nothing more than understanding your opponent’s thought processes, measuring the impact of your own play on their mental outlook, and understanding the mental impact that various external causes have on your own mind. You cannot be a successful psychologist for another person without first understanding your own mental processes, you must study the effect of the same event on yourself under different circumstances. They react differently in different moods and under different conditions. You need to be aware of the effects of anger, joy, confusion, or whatever your reaction to your game. Does it increase your efficiency? If so, fight for it, but never give it to your opponent.
Does it take away your concentration? If so, eliminate the cause, or if that’s not possible, try to ignore it.
Once you’ve properly assessed your own reaction to the conditions, study your opponents to determine their temperament. Such temperaments react alike, and you can judge a man by your own type. You should look for opposite temperaments to compare with people whose reactions you know.
A person who can control their own mental processes has a good chance of reading other people because the human mind works according to certain train of thought and can be learned. One can control one’s mental processes only after carefully studying them.
Perpetually apathetic baseline players are rarely sharp thinkers. If he were, he wouldn’t stick to the baseline.
A man’s physical appearance is usually a pretty clear indication of his type of mind. The calm, laid-back guy who usually advocated a baseline game did so because he hated moving his sluggish mind to think of a safe method of reaching the net. There’s another breed of baseline player who prefers to stay at the back of the court while directing attacks designed to stop your play. He’s a very dangerous player and a sharp antagonist. He achieves his results by combining lengths and directions, leaving you unnerved by the variety of his game. He’s a good psychologist. The former type of player simply hits the ball with little knowledge of what he is doing, whereas the latter always has a fixed plan and follows it. High-impact, unpredictable, and rushing players are impulsive creatures. There is no right system for his attacks, no understanding of your game. He would make brilliant coups spontaneously, mostly instinctively; but no, the mental power of consistent thinking. This is an attractive and charming guy.
The man who is dangerous is the player who mixes his style from back to front on the pitch to an ever-alert mind. This is a man to learn and learn from. He is a player with clear goals. A player who has an answer to every question you ask him in your game. He is the most sophisticated antagonist in the world. He’s from Brookes School. Only after him was the determined man who set a plan in his head and stuck to it hard, fighting through it to the end without ever thinking about changing. He is a man whose psychology is easy to understand but whose mental point of view is difficult to disturb as he never allows himself to think of anything but the cause. This man is your Johnston or Wilding. I have more respect for Brookes’ mental prowess but I admire Johnston’s tenacity in goal.
Choose your type from your own mental processes, and then work your game in the way that suits you best. When two men are in the same class in terms of batting equipment, the deciding factor in any match is mental standpoint. Luck, as it’s called, often captures the psychological value of game breaks and turns it into your own account.
We hear a lot about “the shot we took”. Few realize the meaning of the “shot we missed”. Knowing about misses is just as important as knowing how to make them, and sometimes missing an inch is more valuable than the return killed by your opponent.
let me explain. A player pushes you wide off the field with a corner kick. You run like crazy towards it and grab, riding hard and fast down the sideline, missing an inch. Your opponent will be shocked and shaken to realize your shot can be inside or outside. He will expect you to try again and take no chances next time. He will try to play the ball and maybe make a mistake. By doing so, you’ve taken away some of your opponent’s confidence and increased the likelihood of his making a mistake.
If you just roll that return and he’s killed, your opponent will become increasingly convinced that you can’t get the ball out of their reach while you’re just running out of breath for nothing.
Let’s say you’re shooting from the sidelines. It was a seemingly impossible win. The first amounts to TWO points for taking one from your opponent that should have been theirs and giving you one that you should never have. It also worries your opponent because they feel like they missed a great opportunity.
The psychology of a tennis game is very interesting but easy to understand. Both started with the same odds. Once a person creates a real head start, his confidence and that of his opponent increases worries and his mental attitude deteriorated. The first man’s sole aim was to maintain his lead and thereby maintain his confidence. If the second player pulls or pulls forward, the inevitable reaction occurs even with the greater psychological contrast. There is a natural confidence in the leader who is now the second-in-command, as well as a great drive to turn apparent defeat into possible victory. The opposite in the case of the first player tends to hopelessly destroy his game and collapse ensues.