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Five Confidence Busters For Junior Tennis Players

"Part Two" Patrick J. Cohn

In our last article, I discussed the top five confidence busters for tennis juniors. Why are these so important? It’s simple. Tennis juniors cannot achieve their potential without feeling self-confident.

The top five confidence busters I touched on are: high expectations, perfectionism, self-doubt, negative feedback and not believing in one’s self. In this article, I explain confidence busters 6-10 for tennis kids.

6). Having trouble letting go of negative experiences

All athletes have been through rough experiences. Great athletes, however, don’t let these experiences hinder their performance. They can quickly adapt and get past their mistakes, then focus on the moment. However, athletes who dwell on past mistakes often struggle with confidence issues and perform tentatively for fear of making more mistakes. For example, a young tennis athlete may avoid using her topspin serve when she double faulted a game away in the last match.

7). Lacking confidence in method or mechanics

Tennis kids who don’t believe in their method, coaching or mechanics have trouble believing in their abilities. Many perfectionists think they must possess perfect mechanics in order to perform well or win. When something does not feel just right, they may doubt their abilities.

8). Worrying about making mistakes

Tennis juniors who focus too much on avoiding mistakes doubt their ability to perform well. After missing a few shots, they try to avoid the same mistakes. These tennis juniors might stop rushing the net if they miss a few shots in a row or get lobbed over, for example. The doubt consumes their thinking quickly. Making mistakes in competition is a huge confidence buster for many junior players. They don’t yet possess a stable level of confidence. Their confidence fluctuates with every point or shot.

9). Experiencing nagging injuries

Unfortunately, injuries are a part of sports. When tennis kids focus too much on the injury, they have a hard time performing their best. Their worries about not being 100% physically fit cause their confidence to sink. Kids who aren’t 100% physically fit may use their injuries as an excuse to stop playing their best.

10). Experiencing poor pre-game warm-up

I mentioned in Part One of Confidence Busters for Tennis Kids that many athletes gain confidence from their practice and training. If they judge their warm-up harshly before playing, they lose confidence. They begin to think that a poor warm-up translates into playing poorly in the match. This is called a false over-generalization. Their doubts start to sabotage their confidence before the match even starts and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Dr. Patrick J. Cohn is a mental game coach to nationally-ranked junior tennis players and many professional athletes. Please visit Sports Psychology for Tennis for more tips and articles on tennis psychology.


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