Written by Peter Gehr Senior Tennis Editor
There are 8 top tennis relaxation techniques that can be utilized by both beginners and high level professional tennis players. If the stresses around you are hindering your game and you are under duress from outside influences that have become a distraction to you, the following 8 top tips can help you relieve that negativity in order for you to be in the best mental and physical state.
Mental toughness plays a key role in the lives of professional tennis stars, and a lot of time and effort goes into their mental conditioning training. Being that you mind is where the game begins, mental training has a tremendous effect on your ability to control the actions of your body, and getting a grip on stress inducing negatives can lift you up to become both a better tennis player, and a better person in the process.
Notice how Roger Federer is so relaxed on the court, and this gives him the fluid movements that help him cover the court very rapidly in a well-balanced and smoothy fashion. This agility helps him rapidly glide his way around the court in seemingly effortless and flowing speed.
8 Top Tennis Relaxation Techniques
Dr Arien van der Merwe, health and well-being specialist says:
- Listen to your body. Use your body to notice and become aware of distress: neck muscle spasm, fast and shallow breathing, sweaty palms, a flushing face, a hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach, a racing heart and the urge to cry. These signs can make you aware that you need to take time out to reconnect with yourself. Go outside or take a comfort break. Shaking your whole body will give immediate release to feelings of overwhelming distress and anxiety.
- Remember to breathe with this one-minute stress-buster: Breathe in deeply through your nose on a slow count of three. Breathe out through your mouth on a slow count of five. Repeat a few times. Try this every time you feel stressed, anxious or worried.
- Relax your muscles. Alternatively, tense and relax your muscles (eg. calves, buttocks, hands in fists). You will feel an immediate relief.
- Think positively. Get in the habit of thinking about stressful situations as opportunities and challenges — to learn, grow and improve yourself, to take your life in a new and better direction, to stretch your abilities. Visualizing and intending a positive outcome is another good mental technique.
- Exercise. Jog, play tennis, dance, do yoga, or take a brisk walk around the block. Exercise will relieve muscle tension and release endorphins that will lift your spirits.
- Talk about your feelings and ask for help sometimes. Sharing with someone often makes the situation seem less dire and more manageable. You can talk with a supportive friend or relative.
- Keep it real. We all tend to get a bit melodramatic when we’re under stress. Without plunging headlong into catastrophic thinking, take a moment to imagine the worst that can realistically happen. Working through how you would respond to the worst-case scenario will help you feel more in control of the situation.
- Practice mindfulness: Wake up five minutes earlier to spend a few moments lying in bed. Enjoy the delight of the fresh morning air, the sparkle of early sunlight, the sound of birds. Sense the life flowing through your body. Notice your breath, the pulsing of blood in your fingertips, the tug of gravity on your arms, legs and trunk. Take a few deep, slow breaths. (Original story here)
The 8 top tennis relaxation techniques above can be implemented into your everyday life by familiarizing yourself with each one, and being mindful of these benefits can be vital to your well-being and overall success as an athlete. Tennis training should go beyond the physical fitness and techniques of tactical playing regimens and strategies, and should incorporate these healthy mind and general mental toughness and tension relieving routines.
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