Maintaining motivation and enthusiasm can be one of the biggest challenges for any athlete, especially for those that have competed for a long time. When a player first takes up a sport they’re likely to be excited to participate as often as possible and motivation is going to be at an all-time high. At this stage, it’s important to put steps in place to ensure that this level of motivation stays with the player as they progress through the sport. It can be common for players to lose enthusiasm and motivation after a long period of time which can often cause them to stop participating altogether.
We’ve shared our top tips for maintaining motivation in tennis.
Setting realistic and achievable goals is something that we have covered previously on the Tennisletics blog due to the fact that setting goals can help to improve numerous aspects of a player’s mental game. When it comes to keeping players motivated setting goals is one of the best tools available. If a player is training with no specific goal in mind it can be very easy for them to lose motivation as there is very little reward. Whether it’s a specific skill they are looking to improve upon, a target they are looking to reach, or in preparation for an upcoming event having a goal to focus training around will ensure a player is giving it everything during practice.
Signing up for an event is one of the most common goals used by tennis players. Not only do they have something to aim for and work towards, but often they will have made a financial commitment in signing up which is further incentive to work hard. Additionally, many players will tell people they are committed to playing at an event. No matter whether it’s their coach, peers, or even parents by letting someone know they are competing, a lot of players will be more motivated to train as they want to display their ability at a high level.
Ultimately, you are the only person responsible for your own training. Due to the fact tennis is mainly a solo sport it can be easy for a player to skip practice or not workout when they don’t feel like it. By training with a partner or in a group they are expecting you to turn up to practice and counting on you to help them train. Additionally, by training with others, it makes practice more social and often more enjoyable which in turn will help to boost motivation. Step out of your comfort zone.
As soon as a player stops pushing themselves to get out of their comfort zone it’s likely that they will start to lose motivation. If a player is comfortable where they are then they aren’t progressing, they’re simply maintaining their current ability. Athletes need to be constantly pushed to ensure they are progressing and building upon their skillset, this comes from constant progress throughout training.
It can be very easy for a player to get stuck in their comfort zone, the key is to constantly raise the bar in order to raise their performance level. Progression can come from a variety of things such as ramping up the level of training, switching up how a player trains, or trying something new.
Train more than just tennis
Following on from the previous point, it can be easy for training to turn into a routine where players do the same thing day in day out. This is a sure-fire way to lose a player’s motivation as they know exactly what to expect before each training session. Switch up training sessions by included new drills and activities, or even a new sport altogether.
Training a variety of different sports and exercises alongside a player’s typical tennis plan is a great way to ensure they are physically prepared for any eventuality. For example, boxing is a great way for a player to improve their cardiovascular strength and can also help to improve reflexes and reactions. Alternatively, yoga is a great way to help improve a player’s flexibility and mobility. Don’t be afraid to add variety to your training plan to ensure you are constantly stimulating your body and mind.
Understand what works best for you
Ultimately it comes down to what works best for each player, there is no one size fits all strategy that can be applied to everyone. Some players find it easier to train early in the morning whereas some will never be morning people and would prefer to train in the evening. Everyone is unique and working out the best is vital to ensure they remain motivated and enthusiastic about training.
Once a player discovers what motivated them to train and the best way to hold onto that motivation they will be a significant improvement in their overall ability. We created audio tracks and blogs with the aim to help players improve all aspects of the mental side of their game, including motivation.