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Quick Fixes For Coping With Performance Anxiety- Part 1

September 25, 2006 10:41 AM

Dr. Robert Heller

Performance anxiety, the exaggerated and excessive fear of looking foolish and feeling embarrassed and tense, is a common affliction among tennis players. It’s especially noticeable when serving or receiving on keys points in front of a crowd or significant others.

Here are some quick fixes to adjust your attitude and behaviors to play with greater comfort.

1. KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Remember, tennis is just a game. Chill out! Keep your self worth out of it!

2. DON’T BE CONCERNED about what others may think or say. You play tennis (or should play) for fun, to compete and to get better. You are not playing to get someone else’s approval stamped on your forehead!

3. DON’T BE A PERFECTIONIST! Do the best you can. No one is perfect. You WILL make mistakes. Accept being human and imperfect. Learn from your mistakes and it will make you a better player. Fear them and you just get more anxious.

4. BREATH- Long, slow, deep breathing will help you maintain focus and feel more comfortable. Avoid short, shallow breathing and holding your breath.

5. STAY LOOSE-Shake out your hands, relax your grip and keep your feet moving by taking little steps in place.

6. SLOW DOWN, TAKE YOUR TIME AND DON’T RUSH. Calm actions will help settle your mind.

7. AWARNESS WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. Know what the score is but don’t be overly concerned or focus on it. Play each point as well as you can and let the score take care of itself.

Dr. Robert Heller is a sports psychology consultant in Boca Raton, Florida and author of the mental conditioning CD-ROM program, TENNISMIND. For information on mental coaching, products and other services, you can reach him at (561) 451-2731, e-mail robertheller@adelphia.net or www.thewinningedge.usptapro.com




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