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Reviewed the USTA Mid-Atlantic adult tennis leagues playing in my area and know the registration dates, check!
If you’ve got these items crossed off your list, than it sounds like you’ve been following along on our “Gearing Up” series! We want you to have your best season of team tennis so we are continuing along with more information to help you “gear up” for spring leagues.
Here’s a topic you may not often give much *thought* to: improving and staying mentally tough on the tennis court.
Sport psychologists have examined how mental skills training helps athletes improve performance by not only developing skills, such as concentration and stress control, but also making efforts to influence personal characteristics, such as self-esteem and sportsmanship. We went straight to the experts from the USTA Player Development program to provide you with some tips on how to be, and stay, mentally tough on the court. What’s key is developing a routine between points.
Dr. Larry Lauer is a mental skills specialist for USTA Player Development and has been a sport psychology consultant for over a decade with elite tennis players from juniors, college, and pros. Dr. Lauer developed a concept called “The Green Light Routine” that helps outline basic steps to be able to let go of the last point and focus on the current point.
There are four basic steps to Lauer’s “Green Light Routine,” outlined here, and we’ve included a VIDEO below of him discussing these steps:
Step 1: Respond
As soon as the point has ended, there will be a response. It will be positive, negative or neutral. The goal is to stay positive or neutral. Go to your strings, show positive body language and walk briskly back behind the baseline. A slumping posture will only fire up your opponent.
Step 2: Relax
Take deep breaths and let go of the last point. You want to slow down your breathing and heart rate and quiet your mind.
Step 3: Refocus
Use a towel, touch the fence, pick up the balls, walk around and focus on the current point. You should have full commitment to the current point knowing your play. Serve and Return – Visualize and commit to it. Turn and walk to the line when you know what the plan is and you are committed to it.
Step 4: Ready
Bounce the ball however many times you feel comfortable according to your routine (like a free throw shooter in basketball); sway back and forth on your returns, take a deep breath and lock in on the ball. You are now NO LONGER THINKING. Quiet the mind and trust what you are doing.
Check out this video featuring Dr. Lauer explaining the routine:
Read Dr. Lauer’s article to get more details about this and other mental health routines.
What routines have you used to help you stay focused and mentally tough during a tennis match? Share them with us on social media – tag us and use #ustaspringgearup.
And be sure to check the 2019 calendar here to see which leagues are registering in your area. Contact the listed Local League Ambassador for your local area or our Tennis Connect service to get playing!