Tennis is one of the most competitive sports played by millions around the world and one of the toughest sports you can play both physically and mentally. Tennis matches put huge stress on a player’s body.
When the body is under stress for long periods the player’s hormonal balance can be thrown out. This imbalance can affect the player’s game in many negative ways. Hormonal imbalances can cause fatigue, slower recovery, lack of mental clarity, tennis injuries, poor decision making, inflammation, aches, and pains- all of which reduce tennis performance considerably.
We often see players who manage physical stress quite well. Many players have recovery strategies in place which may include tennis massage, physiotherapy, tennis nutrition and supplementation plans. However, we rarely see players who are managing mental and emotional stress levels effectively. Most players don’t realize that mental stress can have the same effect on the body as physical stress. If mental stress isn’t effectively managed, you will have problems in the long term.
While there are many approaches we use to help reduce mental and emotional stress one of the simplest, easiest, and quickest techniques is mediation.
Meditation can be misunderstood. You don’t have to go to an ashram in India or sit on top of a mountain in Nepal to meditate in an orange robe. Mediation can be done anywhere and you can start with as little as 3minutes a day.
Meditation is the art of mental control. It helps elicit a ‘relaxation’ response which calms and relaxes the nervous system to helps balance the ‘fight’ and ‘flight’ stress response. Meditation is proven to help reduce mental/emotional stress and can quite literally transform your tennis and your life. Meditation really is the ‘3minute secret’ to improving your performance and winning more matches.
Basic Breath Count Meditation
Find a quiet place to sit comfortably with a straight back and hands rested in your laps. Simply draw your attention to your breath and count while you inhale slowly …1…2…3...4…, pause, and then exhale slowly while counting. 1….2….3…..4…, Repeat for 3 minutes. If you find your focus shifting away from your breathing gently bring it back to counting your breaths. This is a simple starting point for any player of any age. Try this technique daily either first thing in the morning, before practice/match, or before bed. It will help you get more out of yourself and your tennis training!
By Angela Jenkins
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