For Most Student-Athletes, the Key to the Recruiting Process is Good Grades
January 9, 2016
Mental Strategies for Professional Tennis and Academics
October 29, 2015
Have you ever seen a professional play with their strings between points? Next time you are watching a professional tennis match, in between points, watch how they face away from their opponents and “adjust” the strings of their racquet. Maria Sharapova does this after almost every point. In the later matches of a tournament, Nadal will “go to the towel” after EVERY point. Watch it. He does. It’s amazing how he doesn’t vary from his routine.
So why do they do this? Is Nadal so drenched in sweat that he has to towel off after EVERY point? Does Maria really have to repeatedly and meticulously adjust her strings after only hitting a couple shots during that point? No. They don’t. They may have to sporadically adjust their strings or towel off but not in the frequency that they do. In fact, they are absolutely committed to their routines.
Once you recognize that, you will be amazed when you watch them play.
Many professionals will follow a routine between each point called, “Release, Replan, Refocus.” After the point is over, you must learn to release that point. Holding on to the result of the previous point will absolutely not help you during the next point.
Many players believe that they want to play more quickly when they have won the last point so that they “can keep the momentum.” Sounds great, right? Except there’s one problem: What if you can’t string good points together? Then what? Release the last point by turning your back to the net. Once you have turned your back, let go of the result of the previous point. The next point is more important. It will need your total concentration and you cannot do that if you are worried about the previous point.
Once you have released the last point, replan for the next one. This is a time for you to “go to your strings.” As you straighten your strings, think about what is working for you so far in the match and what isn’t working. Think about your strategy. If you are playing a pusher, what is your strategy? If your opponent can’t volley well, how will you adjust? This is “next level” tennis. Go in with a game plan and adjust according to your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, as you turn around and face the net again, refocus on this next point. You can only win one point at a time, so you have to put everything into that point. Play as hard as you can during that point and remain focused on that point only. I was working with a good young tennis player when I happened to walk by him as he was playing someone that was better than him at the time. I asked how he was doing. He responded, “I’m down 5 – 2. What should I do?” “Win this point!” I exclaimed. Which he did. Then he asked, “What should I do now?” Surprised, I exalted, “Win this one!” He went on to win 7 – 5.
How you approach your grades is the same thing. Release the last grade – whether you got an ‘A’ or you didn’t do so well. Replan for the next test, quiz, or paper. Then refocus on that grade only! The last grade has nothing to do with the one you currently have to study for. “Win this point!” Go all out for each grade. Put your all into every point and put your all into every grade. That is how you will dominate on the court and in the classroom.
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