The greatest athletes are mentally tough. They find ways to 'be ready' to perform on the biggest stages. But what does that mean? What tools do they use to get themselves prepared?
Coach: Estevam Strecker, head tennis coach
Bio: Former head men’s tennis coach at St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas. Second-straight Heartland Conference Coach of the Year award and two-consecutive trips to the NCAA Regional Tournament. Played collegiate tennis at Auburn from 1999 to 2002, claiming 86 singles victories (8th on the all-time list) and 3 NCAA Tournament appearances. Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and Masters in Exercise Physiology.
Length: 3 min 12 sec
The greatest athletes in the world, no matter what sport or event they compete in, have many things in common. And, mental toughness is one of them.
When the time comes to perform at the biggest stages in the world, they always find a way to be ready. What does being ready mean? It means they know what they need to do to be successful. They have a routine and they stick to it in a very disciplined and professional way. And most importantly, they never stray away from it. From the warm-up, to the music they listen to, and the things they eat and do prior to the match. Every step of the way is planned for success, and nothing is left to chance. Do you want to win? Do you want to reach your goals? Then have a pre-match plan? Do you listen to music? What type of music do you need to listen to? Does it get you energized if you need a boost of energy? Does it make you calmer if you are nervous? Do you have a warmup routine? What exercises do you do? How many reps of each? Everything counts.
You worked hours, days, months for this moment. Make sure you are on task leading up to the match. You have 100% control of what you do before you compete. You are the boss. When you are warming up on the court, remember, the warm-up is not practice. This is the time for you to focus on your movement and energy, and not your stroke production. As you hit balls and break into a sweat, recite your personal mantras for the day. Remind yourself what you are all about as a tennis player. You must know what type of player you are and what your strengths are. You must know how you use your strengths against your opponent to make your opponent very uncomfortable.
You must have a game plan based on who you are as a tennis player. What is it that you want to make happen in every point? Take time to write it down on a piece of paper or a notebook. Have it with you on court so that you can read it on changeovers and remind yourself of what you are trying to accomplish during the match. Visualize your game plan and see it being successful. Ultimately, you can only control the things you do, the things you think, and the things you say. So, before you play your next match, take time to prepare your mind to win.