Thursday, April 15, 2010

Elliott Pettit’s Tennis Tips – 4/15/10 Mental Tennis: Keeping Your Head!

Hello Tennis Fans:

Letting yourself show frustration to your opponent is the first step along the path of losing your head during a tennis match. Mental Meltdowns begin with a simple frustrated swipe through the air after you miss a ball, then evolves into a tirade of verbal self-flagellation, and finally comes into full bloom with a throwing of the racquet. Now, unless you're John McEnroe, which only one of us is, this type of behavior is not going to do anything positive for your game. It becomes for your oppenent the equivalent to a shark smelling blood in the water, they look across the net and see a wounded fish and begin to circle for the kill.

We spend countless hours on the practice court hitting shot after shot to make ourselves better but hardly any time working on the mental side of tennis. What good is that inside out forehand you've worked so hard at mastering going to do for you when you are too tense and angry hit it? The best advice I can give to you would be this: BREATH. It sounds silly, and also sounds like it should be second nature but you would be surprised how many players lose points, as well as their heads, partly because they are not breathing during a point. Breathing is the best way to keep you loose and relaxed when you are playing, make sure that you get yourself into a pattern of exhaling each time you make contact with the ball to develop a pattern of proper respiration during a point.

Once you have gotten used to breathing while you are playing, consider this; it's easier to win at a game of poker when you know what your opponent holds in their hand, right? Don't give your opponent on the tennis court the same luxury by letting them know what you have in your head! Learn to become nothing but a wall of positive emotion on the court and watch your results improve!

Let me know and post your thoughts.

Thanks and see you for tomorrow’s lesson!

Elliott Pettit

Elliott Pettit is iTUSA's Director of Tennis at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch. Please visit our website at and email me at

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