The Process of Improvement
by Kelly Parker

Golf and tennis have much in common in the way of the mental game.  Both being individual sports, the competitor is reliant on himself.  Once you have a solid swing, the mental game is a pivotal component that can help you be better at your sport.

At this point, I have several students going through the college recruiting process.  They put a lot of emphasis and pressure on results and what coaches want to see.  They are worried about rankings and statistics.  This does not just apply to juniors in high school.  This applies to every player that puts pressure on themselves to win.  What I have to continually remind my players of is the process.  Results will come if you take care of your game, and do the things you need to do to get better.  Here are some ways to work on your mental game.

  1. Goal Setting: Each match should have its own set of goals.  If you are playing a weaker player, maybe your goal is work on something that is outside of your comfort zone.  If you are playing a better player, your goals will change to push you to be better.  Again, it is about the process, not the result.  The result will come.  Every match and every round is a chance to get improve your game.
  2. Control the things you can control: Sounds pretty simple huh?  Golf is very different in this respect to tennis.  In golf, you are 100% in control of every swing you make.  Tennis, this is not the case.  Someone else is dictating what you are playing against.  So in tennis, it’s important to understand the 5 things you have complete control over; your mind & attitude, your preparation, your feet, the tempo of the match and your serve.  For example, you can’t control how hard someone hits the ball, but you can control how quickly you adjust to that pace.
  3. Be Positive: Yes, I know this is obvious, but it is also the most difficult thing to do.  I once had a player come to me and say, “I served great!  I only double faulted 3 times!”  Although, I was excited about her enthusiasm, the premise was that she didn’t do something not that she did something well.  Your brain does not know how to interpret the negative.  If you tell someone to not think about elephants, what do you think they are going to think about?  Elephants, of course.  So, when you are struggling to perform at a level that you want to, focus on the positive.   Instead of thinking, “don’t hit the ball in the net on your serve”.  Think, “go up and out on my serve” and it will go in.

Good luck with mental game!  If you are interested in scheduling a lesson, call Precision at 336.510.4653.