Great physical efforts can only be sustained for so long. Keen mental focus wanes over time. Throughout the year, an excellent athlete takes time to practice when tired in order to build up physical strength. The wise player also makes extra efforts to focus throughout potential distractions in order to build mental strength. Athletes must challenge themselves regularly to achieve greatness, AND they should take purposeful breaks to recover in order to maximize both short and long-term potential.
Success on the court is not only determined by how hard one pushes physically and mentally. How purposefully the athlete recharges the body and mind is also an integral component. Rest is critical for bringing sharp focus on competition days and a necessary piece for sustaining continuous improvement over the course of a tennis career. The athlete that fails to step back and recover effectively often finds that focus gets fuzzy and emotions become more difficult to manage. While stressing oneself in practice and competition builds the body and mind to be stronger in the future, without taking time to recharge physically and mentally, gains cannot be fully realized.
Day to day, season to season, and throughout your career, consider how you recharge yourself:
Between points… what do you do to recharge a bit to manage energy for the entire match?
During the year… what interests do you have that give your mind some time to wander away from tennis?
Over the course of a career… when do you put the racquet down a bit (even when you are playing well) in order to keep yourself fresh and ready to surge forward with purpose?
Written by Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.
Smith Stearns Mental Conditioning
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