Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mental Toughness Tip: Positive Visualization

Dallas Aleman | Towpath Tennis Owner | Tennis Guru

Do you find yourself freezing up at critical points, playing great in practice but lousy in competition, or letting self-doubt creep into the back of your mind? Guess what, we ALL do! Even the pros have their mental meltdowns at times. Your mind controls your body so the key is to train your mind to work for you.

Competitive play should be a happy positive experience where improving is the goal. Many of the struggles with getting better relate to how you visualize your upcoming matches, since the active imagination has no trouble envisioning the negative outcomes. The thing is, positive visualization doesn't actually decrease your chances of failing, but it does increase the odds of success.

Anyone can tell you to think positively but sometimes that's easier said than done. Whether your slumping during a match or having trouble sleeping the night before a big tournament, take this as an opportunity to try these positive visualization techniques.

  • Imagine yourself loose, even if that means physically shaking out your legs and arms.
  • Visualize hitting the perfect shot; an ace out wide, a forehand down the line, an overhead smash-whatever gets you going.
  • Repeat the image in your mind of your perfect shot over and over and over again. 
  • Envision the win. Don't get me wrong, you don't want to jump the gun but allowing yourself to see the end result is encouraging.   

These and many more positive thoughts are the way you create pathways and environments where a winning environment can take place. This not only programs your mind to think positively, but it will help you gain confidence and belief that just because your down 0-5 in a match, you can still come back and win-it's happened! So continue testing out these positive visualization techniques and let us know, does it work for you?

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