Assignment 1: Develop a golden victory log.
Sometimes our memories can fade or can be suspect. Do more that just keep these golden nuggets locked in your mind. Keep them in a victory log. When you have a great day on the court, record what happened in that journal. Also record the time and date, as well as how you felt. Record who you played as well. Keep this victory log in your tennis bag and every so often, refer back to your victory log to keep your greatness fresh in your mind.
Assignment 2: Develop a best friend’s journal.
Every day, write down a positive self-statement in your best friends Write statements like “I am a net player” and “I am a great server” and “I have a great attitude”. Keep this journal in your tennis bag. Refer to this journal before every match and during the match to get a jolt of confidence.
Assignment 3: Imagine yourself to greatness.
Imagery is one of the secrets to building confidence. You can see the point from your own eyes or as if playing on a TV screen. Either type of imagery works. But the secret to imagery is practicing it. The more you practice it, the better you will become at imagery and then the better it will work.
Here are three ways to use imagery to gain confidence:
1) The night before a match, go through the upcoming game and image yourself hitting great shots and performing brillantly. This will give you confidence for the next day and will increase your chances of playing great!
2) Before your serve, in your routine, close your eyes and see the ball landing exactly where you want it to go.
3) Before hitting your service return, close your eyes and see the ball landing in your opponent’s side exactly where you want it to go.
Assignment 4: Create a Best Plays video
Technology is great because now everyone has moments on video in which they were playing their best. Next what you need is to get an app on your phone or other device, and crop out these best moments in time. Place this best plays video on your phone and watch those amazing shots over and over again. This will help you to create a mental tape that is full of confidence.
Assignment 5: Snap out the negative thoughts
Get a rubber band and place it around your wrist. Then, whenever a negative thought pops into your mind, snap the rubber band—not so much that it hurts, but enough to get your attention.
After you snap the rubber band, replace the negative thought with a positive one.
Sit down and make a list of opposite thoughts so that you will be ready.
Here are some examples:
|Instead of . . .||Think|
|I stink at tennis||I can do it.|
|I am afraid.||I am fearless.|
|I’m no good at hitting volleys.||Mistakes are okay|
|I do not like the coach.||Focus on myself.|
|I play poorly in competition.||I’m going to do the best.|
If your mental tape is negative, you will be snapping the rubber band all day long at first. But over time, the snaps will start to diminish and so will the negative self-talk.