Stay-at-Home orders? Tennis courts closed? Despite the many changes underway to contend with COVID-19, you can stay tennis-ready with a technique called visualization. It's a great way for a tennis enthusiast to continue improving without having to go to the tennis courts!
Visual imagery can accelerate a tennis player’s progress in mental preparation for on-court play. Tennis players use visualization extensively without even knowing it. It’s about forming a mental image as you picture your success and feel the emotions of achieving intended results. Visualization can support improved performance in all four major areas of tennis: technique, tactics & strategy, physical ability, and mental preparation.
Effective visualization is easy to do. The following pointers might be helpful to you as you picture and frame your responses to situations on the tennis court.
*Sit comfortably in your chair and take a couple of deep breaths to relax. Close your eyes and try to see the colors and shapes of objects on the tennis court – the net, the bench, the fence….
*Try to hear the sounds that you would normally hear on the court – the sound of hitting the ball, your breathing and other sounds.
*Feel the movement of your body and your strokes as you hit the ball. Hit a forehand with topspin and feel the impact of the ball as your racquet moves forward and over the ball. Hit a slice backhand and feel how your arm slides forward as you use the racquet face to cut into the ball. Feel your body move toward the net as you anticipate your opponent’s reaction and return.
*The most important component is to feel your emotions. What does it feel like to hit a certain shot successfully, win the point, or win the match? When you include your positive emotions, such as joy, enthusiasm, happiness, and satisfaction, you multiply the positive effect of visualization. Over time, your brain hardwires these improvements and they become more profound and permanent.
Visualization can be a useful tool after you have watched a professional match on television. For example, focus on how a particular player serves. Play close attention to the way his/her body moves, the toss, and how the ball is struck. Many times we have the advantage of slow-motion replays to see the details. You can use these details to picture your own serve or other strokes when you engage in visualization.
Once the precautions to protect against the spread of COVID-19 are lifted, we can continue with our terrific schedule of tennis club events. Remember we have several planned for May!
May 2 - Clinic/Mixer
May 9 - Guest Doubles Mixer & BBQ
May 13 - World Cup / Pot Luck Dinner
May 15 - 17 - Mixed Doubles Championship
May 23 - Quarterly Meeting / Pot Luck Dinner
Until we have permission to resume our event schedule, let’s get out there and play tennis... as we visualize!