Reflecting post-match on what worked and what didn't can be useful. Get three key things to consider to get the most out of this activity.
Coach: Kendall Brooks, head tennis coach
Bio: Former head women’s tennis coach for the St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas for six straight seasons. In 2018, brought Hilltoppers to their highest national ranking in school history at #17 and was named the Wilson ITA South Central Coach of the year. They would finish their 22-6 record-breaking season as Heartland Conference runner-up, earning their 3rd NCAA Tournament berth, and close the year ranked 22nd in the country. Four-year letter winner for Texas Tech Red Raiders, with career singles record of 61-58 and 41-17 in doubles. Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science.
Length: 2 min 21 sec
Reflection is always a good thing in order to analyze what worked and what didn't and then improve. If you typically go from match to match without taking time to think about the last, then you are missing an opportunity for growth. A good post-match analysis can be as simple as answering the following three questions.
What did I do well?
You should always start with the positive. What things did you feel like you performed? Well, during the match. It could be a certain stroke. It could be your attitude or footwork, or something more specific in reference to a plan you had before the match, like attacking the second serve, or keeping it deep. Reflecting on these things, and writing them down is another exercise and positive self-talk, thus making deposits into your 'confidence bank'.
The second question is, what can I improve?
Instead of phrasing the question negatively, like what did I do poorly, it's phrased again in a positive way, so that you're able to look at it as more of a list of things to prepare for work on and learn from. A lot of times, you'll get some great information from this section. And you'll also get a very specific list of things to knock out and the next practice or lesson. This also gives you some ownership of your game and forces you to make some observations on how you can improve.
The last question is, how was my attitude and use of mental tools?
Because tennis is such a mental game, it's also important to take the time to reflect on this aspect of the game. Ask yourself whether you spoke positively, maintained positive body language, and controlled your temper. It's important that you encourage yourself to be very honest in this section. Hopefully, you'll start to see a correlation of your mental composure and your performance and/or outcome.
As a coach, you often want to give the player time to decompress following a match, especially a loss, before you jump right into post-match analysis. If they were invested at all or it was close, they can be upset or angry and talking right away, can lose substance as they might not be ready to listen or think clearly. So I would encourage you to do the same. Take some time before sitting down and reflecting on your match.