The most important skill
Self-confidence is probably one of the main reasons why players underperform when they go from practice to matches. It is the reason why when players or parents contact me, they ask me why they or their child can’t perform as well in matches as they do in practice.
Confidence is one of the most important skills needed for tennis players to perform at their best, especially because of the very strong relationship between confidence and performance. Indeed, your ability to make good decisions under stress, to concentrate, to perform under pressure, to overcome mistakes or to control your emotions, is directly related to your self-confidence.
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Self-confidence comes from your expectation of success or failure. It is your belief that you can successfully play well or not. When you are confident you’re positive, you’re relaxed, you think you can win, you simply feel good. When your confidence is low that’s just the opposite. You’re tight, tense. You make mistake because you’re emotional.
Think about your confidence as you play tennis. How confident are you? Maybe you have a good sense of self-confidence. Or maybe you experience some ups and downs in terms of your confidence level and need to find ways to develop your confidence more consistently.
Confidence is not innate
Most of people think you either are or are not confident and that there’s nothing you can really do to improve your confidence. The truth is that being confident is not something that is innate. Of course some tennis players seem to be more confident than others but there is a large part of your confidence that is learned through experience. The very good news is that like other mental skills, confidence can be learned and need to be practiced.
You have the answers
If you play with a high level of confidence in your practice but when you go to the matches you don’t have the same level of confidence, stop to doubt yourself! The sources of confidence are not hidden or secret. They are inside you and under your control. You have the answers and it is now time to start to build your self-confidence for your next matches!
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