5 Best Habits of Tennis Players to Increase Your Mental Toughness

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Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of, “He or she is good, but they don’t have that certain something that all the great players have?”

Talent is great, and it is going to get you far, but when you reach the top levels of your field – no matter what that field may be, everyone is talented. You need more than that to set yourself apart. You need that ‘certain something.’

It has been called the killer’s instinct, the winning attitude, the stuff of true champions, and a lot more. But what is it really? It’s a mental thing, and you can develop it too.

5 Habits Mentally Tough Tennis Players Possess

Amy Morin wrote an article for Lifehack in which she discusses 13 things mentally strong people don’t do. In it, she gives general tips on what not to do if you want to be mentally strong. While these points work for everything, tennis players – or athletes in general – should have their own tips. So here are five habits of mentally tough tennis players.

  1. They never stop believing.

The most mentally tough tennis players all have something in common: they believe in themselves. They are not just the best player out there – they know they are the best player out there.

You’re good? They are better. You have skills? They have more. Whatever you can offer, they can offer more. It can come across as cocky or arrogance at times, but confidence is a necessary skill to develop.

Now, it should be noted that being confident and being a bad sport sometimes appear to be closely related. If you cross the line, you lose your edge. Being confident is not the same as being a bad team player or about being a poor winner or loser.

If you want to be the best, make sure you develop confidence, but leave all of the unsportsmanlike behavior out of your game.

  1. They can brush off the negative.

No matter how good you are and how much you believe in yourself, sometimes you are going to make a mistake. That is just a fact. But what you do after you make that mistake determines your mental toughness.

When you do something wrong, do you let it get to you and eat at you for days? If so, then you need to work on your mental game.

When the mentally tough player makes a mistake, they immediately brush it off. No, that is not entirely true. First, they learn from the mistake, and then they forget all about it.

So they messed up on their serve, they know what they did wrong, and they won’t make that mistake again. But they are certainly not going to let that mistake eat away at them. They have the rest of the game to show just how great they really are.

  1. They never say die.

The odds may be stacked against them, but that is okay. They still plan on winning. Great tennis players never give up. So they lost today, they will not lose tomorrow. Defeat does not discourage them, it pushes them to play harder the next game.

  1. They are not afraid to take a risk.

When it comes to good tennis players, there are two broad categories that they can be lumped into.

There are the players that never take a chance when they do not have to. They play it safe. They might rarely make mistakes because they go where they need to be and do what they need to do. They also rarely make any spectacular plays. In essence, they are solid players.

Then, there are the players who dive to return balls, take risks, and are not afraid of making a mistake. These players might miss some shots that the solid players made because they are trying to something incredible; however, they make up for it seconds later when they do something that makes everyone watching wow.

Solid players are important, and they are talented. But the risk takers are the great players, and they are the players people remember after everything is said and done.

It should be noted, though, that taking risks and not playing smart are two entirely different things. It’s good to take risks, but it is not good to play stupidly.

  1. They know what they want, and they are not afraid to work hard for it.

The mentally tough believe they are the best, but that does not mean they think they can go out on the court with no preparation.

The greatest tennis players set goals for themselves and then they work to reach those goals. They are out there practicing hours before and after everyone else. The train and condition. They watch other matches to pick up tips and scout competition.

They are not going to let anyone have an advantage on them. They are the best, and they plan on staying that way.

Developing These Habits

If you want to be a pro at tennis, then it takes more than practice and talent. If you really want to succeed, you have to be mentally strong as well. When you play against great players, whether in a tournament, at tennis camp, or simply a pickup game at your local court, watch more than their skills, watch their attitude.