Staying calm and keeping things simple on the tennis court is very difficult.
It is so easy for your mind to go wild when you are playing a tennis match. Your adrenaline level increases, you have a ten second point that seems like it lasts an hour, and you have a huge opportunity, but then you make an error.
Panic is human nature. The players that do not feel the anxiety are extremely good at keeping things simple. Watch the ball, move your feet, follow through, hit deep and down the middle, or try to hit three good shots in a row, are all great ideas. The problem is that if you go through the thought process and there are more than a couple of these things in your head, the anxiety and panic will begin to take over.
Stick with one or two basic ideas before the point starts. My go to has always been the "watch the ball" idea. Thinking about focusing on just the ball tends to make a lot of the correct things happen in the heat of the point. Other players may have a different cue, but keeping the area of focus on just one or two ideas is the key to success.
Simplify your thoughts and your performance level will increase significantly.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.