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How To Play Tennis Mentally

how to play tennis

You need to learn how to play tennis mentally after you reach a certain level in this game. Everything is going to boil down to your mental game and you will always play up the imag you have of the match and your opponent. 

Many players know how to play the game, but very few know how to play the mental game. The ones that do, are the ones that become Champions. The rest become good at losing and making excuses. 

Which category are you in now? 

Champions have mastered the mental game by learning to control their fears and dominating their emotions. 

I have been studying the mental aspect of tennis for the last 15 years, and what I have found out is that 95% of the players lose because they are mentally weak. This is why the best thing you can do for your game right now is get to work on your mental toughness and don’t stop until you see yourself performing better in big matches. 

I teach the mental game, and the reason why is I got tired of seeing my players lose because of their lack of mental toughness. So I refocused my efforts from technical to mental when teaching tennis and it is working. 

The problem with players and coaches is that they focus too much of their time on techniques and mechanics, instead of working on building up the players mental game in preparation for any match, big or small. 

How To Play Tennis Mentally


In tennis you are only as good as your mental game, here are a few tips for you to meditate on. 

Get the image of the type of player that you want to be in your mind. Study some pros if you have to, but make sure that the image your have is clear and vivid, then see yourself doing it, and last, act out the part until you FEEL IT! The mental game is a big game, but the physical game has to come into play at some point.

That’s the formula for success in your matchplay – players have to reprogram themselves mentally by using the above method. 

Also, relax more on the court. Tension negates flow, so breathe deeply between points and and exhale at contact. That’s something you can certainly witness (and hear) by watching the U.S. Open this week. But do it in a natural way – you will always know how to play tennis at your best when you are relax and focused. 

Combine seeing it with feeling it and acting out the part with good deep breathing and you are going to see better results from your game in no time at all. I can promise you that. 

Let’s sum it up. Tennis is mental warfare and you are going to have to develop a warrior mindset if you want to be mentally tough in your matches. Develop this habit and you are good to go. 

I’ll leave you with a quote the post up,” Your mental game is created mentally first.” Never forget this. 

Good Luck!

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50 Responses to How To Play Tennis Mentally

  1. Perry October 29, 2015 at 5:07 am #

    Tennis is definitely a mental sport just as much as a physical sport I agree. A wrong mental model and you can quickly turn downhill from an otherwise great game in your advantage

  2. willie September 8, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    Physical and mental balance matter alot….If you have good balance than game is yours

  3. Blake November 10, 2016 at 7:28 am #

    Great article. This can actually apply to all kinds of sports. That is why having a strong mentality, a killer instinct is really important.

  4. Ryan Brandon May 21, 2017 at 11:58 pm #

    Thanks for this great and informational reviews . Without a doubt, tennis is a sport that requires a good amount of skill and athletic ability to play well. You need to have quick feet, strong arms and well above average hand-eye coordination if you are going to excel at it. Talent alone is not enough to get you to the top of the sport.

  5. Ross Wilson July 5, 2018 at 1:52 am #

    Thanks Thomas for this useful article. I was searching for mental strengthening tips for tennis and found your article. I am also a tennis player and I often get in dilemma whether to play aggressively or defensively when I sometimes face deuce in tennis.

    The deuce is a very tricky condition in the game of tennis and it often makes me more nervous and I always submit to my lower self-esteem.

    I agree with your view that winners never quit and quitters never win. Winners or champions in the game of tennis are the ones who always have a very strong mind and a firm belief in their ability to outsmart their opponents.

    I also once failed to overcome my own fears during the game and then I lose that match due to my emotional triggers. I completely agree with your point that many tennis trainers focus on techniques and mechanics of the game. But they rather have to first focus on enhancing the mental strength and psychological aspects of the game.

    Nowadays, I also train my students about strengthening their mind first and prepare them mentally to play tennis more effectively.

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  9. happy wheels October 17, 2018 at 7:50 am #

    Which category are you in now?

  10. October 23, 2018 at 2:53 am #

    Having pretty-looking strokes, and winning tennis matches, those are two very different things. If this player hits harder than you do, then it is normally a mistake to try and out-gun her. As the old expression goes, “Never try to out-slug a slugger,” and especially if the slugger hits harder than you do. Sharapova could use this advice against Serena, but so far has not shown us any new ideas on the court.

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    “see yourself doing it, and last, act out the part until you FEEL IT! The mental game is a big game, but the physical game has to come into play at some point”

    I disagree with this point because thinking and trying to perform the same is not as simple as you suggested here, that person need lots of practice if he wants to win, tennis is a mental and physical game you can’t servive with one.

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