General Tennis Psychology

General Tennis Psychology

Tennis psychology is​ nothing more than understanding the workings of​ your opponent's mind, and gauging the effect of​ your own game on his mental viewpoint, and understanding the mental effects resulting from the various external causes on your own mind. You cannot be a​ successful psychologist of​ others without first understanding your own mental processes, you must study the effect on yourself of​ the same happening under different circumstances. You react differently in​ different moods and under different conditions. You must realize the effect on your game of​ the resulting irritation, pleasure, confusion, or​ whatever form your reaction takes. Does it​ increase your efficiency? if​ so, strive for it, but never give it​ to​ your opponent

Does it​ deprive you of​ concentration? if​ so, either remove the cause, or​ if​ that is​ not possible strive to​ ignore it.

Once you have judged accurately your own reaction to​ conditions, study your opponents, to​ decide their temperaments. Like temperaments react similarly, and you may judge men of​ your own type by yourself. Opposite temperaments you must seek to​ compare with people whose reactions you know.

A person who can control his own mental processes stands an​ excellent chance of​ reading those of​ another, for the human mind works along definite lines of​ thought, and can be studied. One can only control one's, mental processes after carefully studying them.

A steady phlegmatic baseline player is​ seldom a​ keen thinker. if​ he was he would not adhere to​ the baseline.

The physical appearance of​ a​ man is​ usually a​ pretty clear index to​ his type of​ mind. The stolid, easy-going man, who usually advocates the baseline game, does so because he hates to​ stir up his torpid mind to​ think out a​ safe method of​ reaching the net. There is​ the other type of​ baseline player, who prefers to​ remain on the back of​ the court while directing an​ attack intended to​ break up your game. He is​ a​ very dangerous player, and a​ deep, keen thinking antagonist. He achieves his results by mixing up his length and direction, and worrying you with the variety of​ his game. He is​ a​ good psychologist. The first type of​ player mentioned merely hits the ball with little idea of​ what he is​ doing, while the latter always has a​ definite plan and adheres to​ it. The hard-hitting, erratic, net-rushing player is​ a​ creature of​ impulse. There is​ no real system to​ his attack, no understanding of​ your game. He will make brilliant coups on the spur of​ the moment, largely by instinct; but there is​ no, mental power of​ consistent thinking. it​ is​ an​ interesting, fascinating type.

The dangerous man is​ the player who mixes his style from back to​ fore court at​ the direction of​ an​ ever-alert mind. This is​ the man to​ study and learn from. He is​ a​ player with a​ definite purpose. a​ player who has an​ answer to​ every query you propound him in​ your game. He is​ the most subtle antagonist in​ the world. He is​ of​ the school of​ Brookes. Second only to​ him is​ the man of​ dogged determination that sets his mind on one plan and adheres to​ it, bitterly, fiercely fighting to​ the end, with never a​ thought of​ change. He is​ the man whose psychology is​ easy to​ understand, but whose mental viewpoint is​ hard to​ upset, for he never allows himself to​ think of​ anything except the business at​ hand. This man is​ your Johnston or​ your Wilding. I respect the mental capacity of​ Brookes more, but I admire the tenacity of​ purpose of​ Johnston.

Pick out your type from your own mental processes, and then work out your game along the lines best suited to​ you.

When two men are, in​ the same class, as​ regards stroke equipment, the determining factor in​ any given match is​ the mental viewpoint. Luck, so-called, is​ often grasping the psychological value of​ a​ break in​ the game, and turning it​ to​ your own account.

We hear a​ great deal about the "shots we have made." Few realize the importance of​ the "shots we have missed." The science of​ missing shots is​ as​ important as​ that of​ making them, and at​ times a​ miss by an​ inch is​ of​ more value than a, return that is​ killed by your opponent.

Let me explain. a​ player drives you far out of​ court with an​ angle-shot. You run hard to​ it, and reaching, drive it​ hard and fast down the side-line, missing it​ by an​ inch. Your opponent is​ surprised and shaken, realizing that your shot might as​ well have gone in​ as​ out. He will expect you to​ try it​ again, and will not take the risk next time. He will try to​ play the ball, and may fall into error. You have thus taken some of​ your opponent's confidence, and increased his chance of​ error, all by a​ miss.

If you had merely popped back that return, and it​ had been killed, your opponent would have felt increasingly confident of​ your inability to​ get the ball out of​ his reach, while you would merely have been winded without result.

Let us suppose you made the shot down the sideline. it​ was a​ seemingly impossible get. First it​ amounts to​ TWO points in​ that it​ took one away from your opponent that should have been his and gave you one you ought never to​ have had. it​ also worries your opponent, as​ he feels he has thrown away a​ big chance.

The psychology of​ a​ tennis match is​ very interesting, but easily understandable. Both men start with equal chances. Once one man establishes a​ real lead, his confidence goes up, while his opponent worries, and his mental viewpoint becomes poor. The sole object of​ the first man is​ to​ hold his lead, thus holding his confidence. if​ the second player pulls even or​ draws ahead, the inevitable reaction occurs with even a​ greater contrast in​ psychology. There is​ the natural confidence of​ the leader now with the second man as​ well as​ that great stimulus of​ having turned seeming defeat into probable victory. The reverse in​ the case of​ the first player is​ apt to​ hopelessly destroy his game, and collapse follows.

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