Sport Psych: The "Count" Technique for Better Focus During Racquet Sports
Tennis players often lose focus during games. They fret about the score, about whether they can beat their opponent, or about that cute classmate who is watching from the stands. They think about negative things or sometimes get completely distracted and think totally random thoughts.
How to Maintain Focus
A good way to keep players focused is to have your players count every time the ball is contacted by themselves or their opponent. This works well in either singles or doubles.
Why it Works
It's difficult to keep more than one thought in your mind at one time. So this technique forces players to focus on the ball -- both before enduring a shot -- in order to make the correct count at the exact moment of contact. As a result they won't be thinking negative or random thoughts -- they'll be thinking about the ball.
This technique is effective in other sports as well as tennis. Examples include badminton, squash, volleyball - in fact any sport in which a ball is hit to a player and must be returned.
1. Ken Dehart, (PTR/USPTA Master Professional), " Avoiding Pressure and Disconnecting Thoughts in Match Play." Ken DeHart Tennis, 2005. http://www.kendehart10s.com
2. Mike Kane, Sports Psychology: The Ultimate Guide For Mastering The Mental Aspects Of Sports Performance,
Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2015.
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