Mental Performance at Home

March 23, 2020 10:20 AM

By Dr. Larry Lauer
Mental Performance Specialist, USTA Player Development

  1. Engage with normal routines as much as possible. This creates normality and comfort in an uncomfortable situation.
  2. Visualization - before starting visualization, make a plan for what you want to visualize. Keep in mind visualization is more effective when you make it life-like. You can do this by adding senses to the visualization experience (auditory, feel, taste, smell). You begin with deep breathing for 2-3 minutes to create a present focus and then begin visualizing. Options:
    • Reviewing tennis technique in your mind supports learning of the technique
    • Playing your game (or vision of game)
    • Best matches from 2019/highlights
    • Mental rehearsal: How you will play in Australia or your next tournament (pre-play)? The focus should be on your process goals as well as your game plan
    • Dream tennis performance (e.g., winning a Slam)
    • Adversity visualization - imaging situations that are tough and how you will respond to them
    • Replacement visualization - take a disappointing performance and imagine again but this time changing how you respond and then how you play in that situation
    • Favorite vacation or other relaxing memory
  3. Watch matches and communicate with a mental coach/coach on what you were thinking, feeling, doing.
  4. Gratitude reflection and written statements: List three things you are grateful for in the morning and recite them. It can be related to tennis and/or to life. This should bring positivity and a new level of gratefulness to your life.
  5. Journal self-talk patterns and work on countering/re-framing them.
  6. Focus on what you can control. You can’t control the pandemic or the effects of it. You can control how you respond to it.