1.) Post Point Reactions (4 outcomes of the point)
- You hit a winning shot: post point reaction = positive emotion or take a deep breath
- Your opponent hits a winning shot: post point reaction = tell your opponent good shot
- You miss a shot: post point reaction = take a deep breath or tell yourself the correction to make the shot. For example…you are behind the baseline, hitting a top spin forehand, and you miss in the net…rather than tell yourself something negative…tell yourself to aim higher or get under the ball.
- Your opponent misses a shot: post point reaction = take a deep breath
2.) Refocus. After applying the correct post point reaction, tell yourself to refocus on the current point. If you are struggling with refocusing on the task at hand, look at something far off in the distance (could be a tree or a cloud) and then bring your attention back to your strings and tell yourself verbally to refocus. This will have two effects: first, it will help remind you that there is a big world out there and this is not the biggest deal in the world. It is simply a tennis match. Second, it will help bring back your attention to the match so that you are refocused for the next point.
3.) Plan. After applying the correct post point reaction and getting yourself to refocus on the current point, you need to remind yourself of the plan for the point. Tell yourself where you are going to serve or try to hit the return. Remember, body serves and returning deep down the middle are great plays that are often overlooked. Then, remind yourself what your primary strategy for the point will be. Obviously, once the point starts, you will have to rely on instincts but thinking about your plan prior to the point will help you be more successful when you are playing the point.
4.) To relax or not relax? Oftentimes, relaxation is emphasized in between point routines. It is certainly smart to calm down after a point if you are too positively pumped up or if you are too frustrated but whenever you are in the middle of a game — being too relaxed can lead to a dip in intensity. Following a point, we only have a short amount of time to get ready for the next point, so while we certainly don’t want to be overly pumped or negative — we do not want to be too relaxed either. A good balance is generally the best strategy. Relaxation is super important during change over routines which will be covered in the next article.