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Quick Fixes for Dealing with Anxiety-Part II

November 6, 2006 03:13 PM

Anxiety about performing can be due to a number of actors including: caring too much what others think, worrying about mistakes, not playing “good enough” and the fear of becoming or looking anxious.

In addition to changing our attitudes, we need to change our behaviors if our feelings are to change. In general, we want to force ourselves to face the things we fear but think about it in a positive rather than a negative way.

Here are some on-court exercises and games you can practice to overcome performance anxiety.

1.Driving Range Tennis. To overcome “hitting tight”, a common result of performance anxiety, practice “pulling the trigger”. Go to a field and hit some balls as far as you can. Practice being loose, relaxed and accelerating your racket.

2. Passing Shorts. With 2 players at the net, the 3rd player at the baseline must rip balls either down the middle or the alleys. No chips, lobs or soft shots to the opponents. On every ball you go for the passing shot.

3. King/Queen of the court. In a singles format, players take turns serving a point. The winner of each point gets a point, the loser takes a lap around the court.

4.World Team Doubles. Group format. After each point, winning team stays and gets a point. Losing team goes to back of the line. Play to 10.

5. Distraction tennis. 4 or more players. 2 play while the other’s become “fans” that talk, yell and scream before, during and after the point.

6.Single serve tennis. Playing a set with server getting just one serve.

Try these simulated pressure exercises. The ones that cause you the greatest stress are the very ones you need to work on the most!

I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions for future columns.

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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