League_banner tennis_link_logo BBTAO_FIRSTDATA_color_Horizontal play_it_forward_apply_1024x512 GPTA_image facebook     twitter     youtube
USTA Georgia
116 Marble Mill Road
Marietta, GA 30060
404-256-9543
Tax ID 58-1309245
 

Creating the optimal performance state for players

GettyImages-577718974
November 14, 2016 02:50 PM

By Dr. Larry Lauer, special to USTA.com

For a clear vision of your game, reflect on your best matches and what you were thinking, doing and feeling during those matches. Comparing these against bad performances develops an awareness of the differences in preparation and competition. 

Work through the details to get to the core tactics, thoughts, feelings and behaviors that occur when you are at your best (optimal performance state or OPS). Then, write about your game with details to the above components. 

Vision of Game should be written with “I am, I will” types of statements that create commitment to the vision. Talk to your coach about his or her perspective on the game such as “focus on the process,” “play one point at a time,” “hit out to big targets,” etc., and include those as well.

Step 1: Best-Match Reflection

Take five minutes in a quiet environment void of distractions. Think about your recent best matches (i.e., when you played according to your game style and competed and executed well). Try to relive those matches in detail. 

Think about the following questions as you visualize best matches:

  • How was I feeling prior to the match?
  • What was I thinking prior to the match?
  • What was I doing prior to the match?
  • What were my goals and expectations for the match?
  • Overall, how did I feel during the match?
  • Overall, what thoughts were in my head during the match?
  • Overall, what was I doing between points?
  • Overall, how was I playing the match?
  • In key moments of the match what was I thinking, feeling and doing?

Step 2: Worst-Match Reflection

Take five minutes in a quiet environment void of distractions. Think about your recent worst matches (i.e., you did not play according to your game style and did not compete or execute well). Try to relive it in detail. 

Think about the following questions as you visualize worst matches:

  • How was I feeling prior to the match?
  • What was I thinking prior to the match?
  • What was I doing prior to the match?
  • What were my goals and expectations for the match?
  • Overall, how did I feel during the match?
  • Overall, what thoughts were in my head during the match?
  • Overall, what was I doing between points?
  • Overall, how was I playing the match?
  • In key moments of the match what was I thinking, feeling and doing?

Step 3: Comparison of Best and Worst Matches

Now read back through both the best matches and worst matches and answer the following:

  • What things were similar?
  • What were the big differences?
  • What do I need to do based on reviewing my best and worst matches?

Step 4: Vision of Game 

In this step, pull out the most important and meaningful words from Step 1 that describe your thinking, feeling and doing when you were at your best. This should include your vision of how you want to play tennis.

List them as individual words or short phrases. These words describe your optimal performance state, how you are feeling, what you are thinking and doing when you are at your best. Use these as simple cues before and during the match to keep a task-focused, simple mindset.

I AM:

Step 5: List How You Prepare

In this final step, list how you prepare pre-match to be at your optimal performance state at the start of a match (include night before and day-of activities):

I WILL:

Summary Points 

Understanding yourself and your game allows you to play to your strengths and stay focused on getting better. It is living, training and competing intentionally. 

A clear vision of yourself and game creates a home base for everything that you do. Your decisions should be based on it, and should always be working toward it.

Develop a pre-match plan that consistently gets you close to your optimal performance state and follow it with discipline and commitment.

 

Back

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Close