Life and tennis mimic each other in more ways than one. Both require a strategy, dedication, and focus.
Focus is the most important area both in tennis and life. If your focus is mainly on past events, thinking about what you could have said or should have done, then you are not living in the moment and your life suffers. If your focus on the court is about remembering the last failure you had, then you aren’t paying attention to the game at hand or the serve being dealt.
Live in the present!
You can’t succeed by focusing too much on what’s going to happen or what did happen. You must learn to be in the present. Take a moment to practice this: shut your eyes for a minute. What do you hear? What do you smell? Describe those noises and smells in detail. That’s what being in the present moment is all about. When you step onto the court, you want to envision a result you intend to have instead of worrying about what the result will be. That worry creates a different focus in your mind and can lead to putting your mind in the future instead of allowing it to stay in the present. The same can be translated to how you live your life. If you’re always worried about what will happen, then you will always be unable to focus on what is actually happening.
In order to create your best strategy on and off the court, you need to master the art of focusing. Your mind has 3 different components – the thinking mind, the intuitive mind, and the critical mind. The thinking mind develops concepts and words; the intuitive mind knows without thinking and learns through repetition; the critical mind evaluates and judges. Using these three components together is what will help you master your focus. Visualization comes into play here. Visualize what you want, where you want it to be, and how you want to get it. Intuitively, your mind will help your body achieve that goal. Critically, if you’re confident that what you want is realistic, then your mind will be able to achieve that goal. Focusing on the visualization of attaining a goal right down to the smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch of it will allow you to make it a reality.
Tennis and life are connected. Stay in the present and do not be distracted by the results or thoughts of the outcome. Take it one point at a time; one game at a time; one match at a time. Have a clear picture in your mind before you create that next goal. Know what it is you want and visualize yourself achieving it. See it; feel it; become it. Take care of the process and the results will take care of themselves. And, don’t be hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Mistakes happen and we’re all human.