Home Articles League News: Mental Toughness During ALTA Matches

League News: Mental Toughness During ALTA Matches

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ALTA men's player

By Greg McAfee, Men’s League Vice President

Tennis is a lot of fun and can be even more so when you and your partner learn to work together to win a match. It requires not only the individual skill of hitting the right shot, but also which shot to hit. Another factor that determines the outcome of a match can be the ability to maintain mental toughness during each point.

A lot of things can distract you even before you step onto the court. Did all your teammates show up on time? Did they bring their food assignments? Was there traffic on the way to the match and you barely made it? I’ve known players that can’t get past the fact that there is a small amount of leaf debris on the court. There are countless things that can get into your head that can impart a negative outlook on the match. Let go of all those things and focus on hitting the ball.

On the court, you and your partner must work together to stay positive and communicate and shake off the negative things that happen such as the other team not knowing how to warm up. Sometimes, you just aren’t “feeling it” that day. Focus on the small things first to get back into a groove — getting one more ball back in play or refusing to let your own teammates that are heckling you get into your head. I can say that after years of experience with that last one, it no longer affects me.

As a pair, learn how each other plays and you will develop an unspoken understanding of how each is going to play a shot and handle a certain situation. Trust your partner and worry about your part of the court. When the other team steps up their game, talk with your partner to discuss how you can adjust and get back the momentum. Look at it as an opportunity to learn how to beat another style of play, whether they are pushers, slice and dicers, bangers, or slow players.

One big thing that you can do is stay positive and encourage each other when things are not working. The mental game affects everyone on the court, so if you continue to stay mentally tough and start to gain momentum, your opponents may start to lose focus. How many times have you seen a pair down 2-5 come back to win 7-5? Part of that is due to the mental breakdown on the losing pair’s side. Keep your head in the game, and you just might see more matches go in the win column!

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