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How to Avoid a Tennis Meltdown

Let tennis pros Joe Perez and Kirk Moritz teach you how to keep your confidence up even when you're not playing well in this Howcast video.


Kirk: Alright. We've all been there. You're playing a match. It is getting away from you in a hurry. You're falling behind. You're frustrated. You're losing points in bunches. How do you get back together?

The first thing you have to do is get yourself back together. There's no miracle thing that you're going to do in the current state of mind. You have to take charge of your emotions. You might have to take a deep breath. You have to tell yourself, "If I'm going to get back in this match I'm going to play one point at a time." Don't worry about the last three games. Don't worry about whether you're going to win this match. You deal in the present. You play one point at a time.

How do you do that? It sounds nice. How do you do it? You might have to go to something as basic as just count your shots. You might be missing your first and second shot every point, handing points away in bushels. So you have to steady down. You have to calm down. Okay?

One of my favorites is the old inner game of tennis, Tim Gallwey method of Bounce Hit. What is Bounce Hit? The ball comes to me. At the moment it bounces, hopefully I've already gotten my turn done, but at the moment it bounces I'll actually say bounce precisely when it bounces and hit precisely as I see that ball hit my racket. Okay? If I can do that, and find a rhythm for timing, and find the sweet spot on my racket my game always comes back.

B: My experience also is that, but I also add a couple of other things. And Kirk mentioned them briefly. Two things that happen when I get nervous, and that's when I start to lose control of a match, is I stop breathing and I stop moving my feet.

What I tell myself, as Kirk mentioned, is take a deep breath, a couple of deep breaths. Slow your heart rate down. Your heart rate is all racing, and you're nervous, and you feel like you're looking up at a mountain that you can't climb.

The other thing is that I tell myself to bounce. Just bounce in place. Move my feet so that I can get to the ball and hit a better shot.

So those are the two items that I would add to what Kirk said.

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