The application of psychology in the sports field is having more and more weight and relevance. From the cognitive-behavioral model, numerous professional strategies have been proposed in the field of sport, evidencing the association between levels of self-efficacy and sports performance (Ortega and Meseguer, 2009). Psychological skills in tennis in many cases make the difference between a good player and a great player.
Lucia Jiménez Almendros, extenista and now also a sports psychologist, with a doctorate in the Cognition and Positive Emotion thesis in Coping with Competition athletes, affirms that the limit in this sport is in the mind. Several elite tennis players (ATP and WTA) have confirmed that in professional competition when technical, tactical and physical aspects are similar, the final result is 95% determined by mood factors (Hoya Ortega, 2018).
In the elite of the sport, winning comes first and, in some cases, practically the only thing. Here the speeches of whether participating is the important thing are not valid, a mantra that if it could be adequate in the most basic training. When everything is governed by results, ranking and pressure, psychological skills take on enormous importance. This is where it stands out that the difference in reaching the tennis player’s sports elite inevitably involves strengthening psychological competencies.
“The mental part is very important, because in the end bad moments always come and you have to be prepared to accept them and thus overcome them. It’s like life, in which you have to accept good times and bad times with the same calm.
Psychological skills in tennis (self-assessment and motivation) and perceived physical competence
Psychological skills in tennis have a great influence on physiological, technical and tactical aspects. Tennis players who self-value more and perceive themselves to be more physically competent are more motivated by competitiveness and also by success / achievement.
These skills are essential when it comes to obtaining performance in sports with the presence of mobile phones at high speed, such as tennis, since the players have to perceive and interpret the information quickly, so that they have enough time to plan. , initiate and execute a stroke successfully.
Tennis is characterized by having high psychological demands, since it shows some peculiarities that make it a sport that involves great mental complexities: it is an individual sport, there is no time limit and that can cause loss of concentration, motivation, activation. Athletes must make many decisions, there are no long breaks, there are many critical situations that produce ups and downs in performance (Hoya Ortega, 2018).
“I always have in my mind that I can crush anyone. That’s not a problem. But I think it is the same for most athletes. If you no longer believe that you can win tournaments, then you can’t. “
How to win the mental match?
The psychological skills in tennis that help players win the mental match are intrinsic motivation, motivation towards success (they do not think about losing, they are realistic and optimistic, they attribute their successes and failures to internal aspects) and motivation towards performance (play well, improve, give everything they can). These qualities and behaviors directed to a certain end are decisive to win the mental match.
Elite tennis players also get nervous, but they have a greater ability to control this anxiety. For this, they work on the ability to concentrate, they focus on the important aspects of the game, they are not distracted and, if they do, it is to harm the opposite, easily changing the different types of concentration.
To maintain mental concentration during matches, they follow predetermined guidelines for action before and during matches. In this way, they make everything appear more normal and achieve maximum performance.
In short, to win the mental game, in addition to playing good tennis, the tennis player needs the feeling that everything is carried out automatically, without thinking about what he is going to do, but that at the same time he feels that everything is under control.
“To see what can be improved, what has been done well and badly, you have to have the necessary attitude and a cool head, and open to analyze things and search.”
What psychological factors in sport serve to improve performance?
Psychological factors in sport influence 90% in sporting success, as claimed by high-performance athletes.