What Is Tennis Psychology
In order to be a good tennis player, you have to be a good psychologist first; and a three-way psychologist at that!
Tennis psychology is all about understanding your opponent’s mind, gauging how your actions affect his play, and finally understanding your own mind as to how you are affected by external causes including your immediate surroundings comprising, the court, weather and spectators. You cannot expect to be a good psychologist of others if you have still not tried to analyze and understand your own mind.
Find out how certain factors affect you, and how differently the same factors affect you under varying different conditions. Your reactions in different situations may be categorized broadly under irritation, confusion, pleasure etc. If any stimulus is found to enhance your efficiency, strive for that experience as often as possible; but never allow that privilege to your opponent. If any cause or stimulus is found to adversely affect your concentration, you must remove it where possible, or learn to ignore it.
After you have accurately assessed the nature of your own reactions to different situations, shift your studies to your opponents to assess their temperaments. People with similar temperaments can be thought to react similarly. If you for example find an opponent with a similar temperament to that of yours, then you can easily judge him by your own standards! Likewise, by studying the psychologies of many different types of persons, you will gradually come to a position of being able to classify, categorize and assess an opponent’s temperament and possible reactions almost instinctively and instantaneously.
If you learn to control your mental processes, you stand a very good chance of reading the thoughts of many others too. The human mind is known to work under definite principles and lines of thought; so that it is not difficult to study and assess the mentality of others if you know yours.
If we take an example for consideration, you might be able to deduce easily that a steady, but non-committed baseline player is not a good thinker, for it could be argued that he would not be adhering to the baseline if he was.
In many instances the one’s physical appearance is a reflection of his inner self (mind) too. To pursue further the case of the baseline player we referred to above, he is most probably sticking to the baseline because his lazy mind is reluctant to be constantly thinking of safe ways of playing at net position assessing and executing numerous options that have to be ironed out with good judgment at high speed.
There is yet another type of a baseline player who is very much different in temperament to the former. He would like to remain at the back while organizing the destruction of your game. This player is a man to be dreaded because he is a deep thinking and cunning antagonist. His forte is to attack employing variety like direction and length. To sum up about the two types of players we discussed above, the first player is obviously a very good and versatile player who plays mostly by instinct though haphazardly instead of to a set scheme or plan.
He might make brilliant on the spot coups, but will always be lagging behind in purpose and planning although he makes a very interesting and fascinating personality. The second player on the other hand may be comparatively dull and almost pre-occupied to the exterior. But he is the type professionals are made of. He may be compared to a chess player who makes all his moves in advance and then keeps on modifying them to suit the changing fortunes of the game.
This type of player is equipped with a very alert mind that directs variety into the game to confuse and break the opponents by mixing his styles from back to forecourt. He is a man with a vision and a mission and not merely a brilliant on the spot player. He has all the answers, whatever the style of play you may come up with to distract and upset him. He could be one from Brookes’ school.
There is another modification of his type that comes with dogged determination and sticks only to a set plan without changing it, come what may. He is a person who will take a fight fiercely to its final bitter end without ever changing it. His temperament is easily understood, but not easily upset; since he will never let his concentration to waver from the situation at hand. He is made of the same stuff as the evergreen Johnston or maybe even Wilding; though I personally respect Brooks more for his mental capacity.
You may pick your own hero to emulate; but always work only on the lines that suit you best.