Tennis Psychology (Part 1)

Tennis psychology is only understanding the workings of your opponent's mind, and assessing the effect of your own game on his/her head and also understanding the psychological effects resulting from the different external causes on your own mind.

However, it is true that you cannot be a successful psychologist of others without first understanding your own mental processes. Therefore, you must study the effect on yourself of the same thing happening under different circumstances. This is because people react differently in different moods and under different conditions.

You must understand the effect on your game of the resulting annoyance, pleasure, confusion, or whatever other form your reaction is. Does it increase your efficiency? If so, try for it, but never give it to your opponent. Does it deprive you of concentration? If so, either remove the cause, or if that is not possible, strive to ignore it.

Once you have correctly measured your own reaction to circumstances, observe your opponents in order to determine their characters. Similar characters react similarly, and you may judge men of your own sort by yourself. Different temperaments you must try to compare with those whose reactions you already know.

A person who can control his/her own mental processes runs an excellent chance of reading those of someone else for the mind works along certain lines of thought and can be examined. One can only control one's own mental processes after carefully examining them.

The steady, unemotional baseline player is rarely a keen thinker. If he was, he would not adhere to the baseline. The physical appearance of a player is usually a fairly clear indicator of his/her sort of mind. The stolid, easy-going player, who usually advocates the baseline strategy, does so because he hates to stir up his/her slow mind to work out a safe method of getting to the net.

However, then there is the other kind of baseline player, who would rather stay at the rear of the court while supervising an attack intending to disrupt up your game. He is a very dangerous player and a deep, keen thinking opponent. He obtains his/her results by changing his/her length and direction and worrying you with the variance of his/her game. This player is a very good psychologist.

The first type of player mentioned above merely strikes the ball with little idea of what he is actually doing, while the latter always has a definite plan and sticks to it.


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