Written by Senior Tennis Editor Peter Gehr
Mental tennis strategies for top 3 Australian stars may be just what they need to overcome nerves and pressure in front of their home crowd for the Australian Open 2012.
Sam Stosur, Jelena Dokic and Jarmila Gajdosova were feeling a little wobbly until a notable mind coach stepped in to help the girls with their inner tennis, and mental game strategies. The pressure of tournament is on and the Australian fans expect their players to win, so there’s the added tension on the court to deliver the expectations from the bleachers.
Therefore, added mental and emotional stress on top of the weight of the tournament can be a combination headed for a fall if not strengthen by inner confidence and self-belief.
Mental Tennis Strategies for Top 3 Australian Stars
A TOP mind coach has urged Sam Stosur and her female compatriots to adopt a stage-fright “back-up plan” as they anticipate added local pressure during the Australian Open next week.
Over the past fortnight our highest-ranking women – Stosur, Jarmila Gajdosova and Jelena Dokic – have suffered emotional breakdowns on home soil, with each failure evoking a candid admission of torment from their mental demons Down Under.
Both Stosur and Dokic admitted the burden of public expectation played a significant role in their early exits from this week’s Apia International Sydney, while Gajdosova was reduced to tears after her “double bagel” humiliation at the Hopman Cup. According to mind coach John Novac, the trio need to be ready for “Groundhog Day” at Melbourne Park.
“The biggest question I’d have for any athlete in this situation, is if they accept there’s greater pressure then isn’t there a greater responsibility to prepare for it better?” Novac said.
“You have to anticipate it might happen again, that there will be a Groundhog Day, and if things aren’t going well you need a back-up plan. You either capitulate or get stronger.”
But an adoring crowd did not sit as well with Stosur and Dokic, who were both ambushed by the weight of expectation when they entered Ken Rosewall Arena this week.
Stosur compared the shock to a “bombshell”, while Dokic was physically paralyzed by nerves.
“I really froze,” Dokic said.
Having also worked with a host of elite golfers and tennis players, Novak said there was a direct trigger from nervousness to athletic impairment.
“The athlete feels like they are being squeezed,” he said. “For example a golfer staring down the fairway – it will suddenly feel a lot narrower and like the galleries are closing in.
“International sports are different from team sports like football,” Novak added. “For tennis players there’s really no home ground advantage as such in Sydney or Melbourne because they’re only here once a year. It’s not like it’s their backyard.”
Stosur has constantly worked on the mental side of her game and credited AIS sports psychologist Ruth Anderson after winning last year’s US Open. Anderson will be in Melbourne over the next fortnight to work with Australian players, and Novak said she’d clearly done an excellent job improving Stosur’s mindset.
“I’ve watched Sam for a long time and she just looks so much more steely,” he said.
“I have no doubt she can get through this and make it to No. 1 in the world.
“This (winning at home) is just the latest thing she has to overcome.”
Novak also said the trio’s gender was a plus because women were typically more experienced at handling emotional outbursts.
“Men don’t realize they are emotional beings until their mid-20s or 30s so they can get very down and negative because they haven’t refined their emotional intelligence,” he said. Click here to visit the original source of this post
Mental tennis strategies for top 3 Australian stars Stosur, Dokic and Gajdosova are going to be critical in order to provide the inner game confidence for a winning plan. Anxiety can drain energy that should otherwise be directed towards the tournament. Achieving the mental edge will boost the players and lift them in relieving them of tensions that should be ignored in order to focus on the battle on the court for the Australian Open 2012.
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