It seemed as if it almost wouldn't stop raining at Wimbledon. This creates a problem for all players including IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program alum, Heather Watson. Watson didn't play her first round match until the third day of the tournament. It is situations like these that can cause psychological pressure and anxiety on the players.
Watson entered the tournament with enough pressure as is. She was playing as a wildcard in her home country's biggest tournament. There was also an additional media buzz around her because she became the first British woman in the past seventeen years to win a round at the French Open. To add on to the rush, her first round match was to be played after the legendary rivalry between Isner and Mahut, and no one knew if the match was going to be a repeat of last year. All of these factors with the rain delays can create an emotional roller coaster for any player. By pushing a match on to the next day because of such delays, it can cause some players to go to sleep with so much pressure lying underneath their pillow. As a result, their mentality can ultimately affect their level of play and game.
It is important to learn how to control and manage your emotions in this type of situation. Athletic & Personal Development program Mental Conditioning Coach, Dr. Angus Mugford, lists some tips to help players in this scenario:
Thought Stoppage: Recognize. Stop. Replace.
When you feel stressed or frustrated on court it is vital to recognize your symptoms.
Once you have done this it is good to replace your bad habits with a good one like focusing on deep breathing, reflecting on your goals of your game, using a towel to remain calm in between points, or having some sort of routine.
Don't focus too much on the future but on the NOW Moment.
If you focus on the future it will distract you from the present.
The night before or day of your match it is always a good strategy to visualize yourself in the match playing.
This will help you focus on what you want to do in your match along with helping you relax.
With practice over time, these tips can help improve your mental and tennis game. If you would like to learn more about the Athletic & Personal Development program, please visit the IMG website.