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What percentage of the game is mental?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m a tennis player trying to navigate his way up the rankings and what I seem to be finding is that the further you climb the rankings, the more and more it becomes a mental game.

Once you get to a certain level, everyone can play amazing tennis. No one has huge weaknesses in their game which can be targeted. Therefore the winner or loser is often decided on who can mentally handle the big moments better.

I was curious to get your thoughts on how much you think the mental side of the game matters. Considering there’s the physical, technical, tactical and mental: what proportion of the game does the mental side take up?
 

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Are you really Evan Hoyt the tennis player?!

Your match Vs Den Heijer was one of the last to be played when the ITF announced it’s lockdown

I’m a tennis player trying to navigate his way up the rankings and what I seem to be finding is that the further you climb the rankings, the more and more it becomes a mental game.

Once you get to a certain level, everyone can play amazing tennis. No one has huge weaknesses in their game which can be targeted. Therefore the winner or loser is often decided on who can mentally handle the big moments better.

I was curious to get your thoughts on how much you think the mental side of the game matters. Considering there’s the physical, technical, tactical and mental: what proportion of the game does the mental side take up?
 

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Nice to see a pro tennis player around here. :)

Tennis is a game where not every point has the same importance in winning the match. I mean, look at the 2019 Men's Wimbledon final. Federer was outplaying Djokovic on a lot of points but it was ultimately Nole who played better during the 3 TBs as well as down match points and thus was the winner.

And in WTA there are often wild momentum swings that are triggered by one of the players winning a few important points (like say saving BPs) and crushing the opponent's confidence. Confidence is definitely very important!
 

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Excellent first post. (y)

I noticed different players take different options based on their character. Some need to be pumped up constantly, excessively, to find relentless energy. Examples are numerous on the WTA (Kenin comes to mind). Others will try to stay calm and focused as much as possible, even avoiding to waste energy on useless side effects. The bad reverts of being pumped up is that when you all of a sudden feel down, it makes you flop hard since your game rely a lot on confidence. So I'd rather advise calm, focus and concentration to be able to find a solution in any situation. That's not a majority of players doing that. Barty may be among those. I think she tries to stay in control.
 

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Bem-vindo ao forum, muito interessante se tu realmente for o Evan Hoyt. Esse lugar é meio zoado mas é overall legal.

I'd say about 60%, because it is one of the things that is really hard to practice. One can train a stroke and a serve, but the psychological is very hard. So if you consider how close the level of players on the top actually is, mentality can be the edge.
 

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Yeah it is mental.

Especially when you have enough money for the next year while the other guy only has money for next week, yes the mental game comes into play

But to say it is all mental is also false. Mastery of yourself and your body and your strokes and having no turmoil outside of the court, all that leads to you having a calm mental on the court, the self-belief that you not only CAN win, but you DESERVE to win
 

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The mental game is super important in big situations, Serena is obviously the best at this where you could never really count her out pre=pregnancy. A weak mental game cost many players in their careers like Dementieva and Ivanovic from achieving better and greater things.
 

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I’m a tennis player trying to navigate his way up the rankings and what I seem to be finding is that the further you climb the rankings, the more and more it becomes a mental game.

Once you get to a certain level, everyone can play amazing tennis. No one has huge weaknesses in their game which can be targeted. Therefore the winner or loser is often decided on who can mentally handle the big moments better.

I was curious to get your thoughts on how much you think the mental side of the game matters. Considering there’s the physical, technical, tactical and mental: what proportion of the game does the mental side take up?
I think at whatever level you are at, it's a huge part of the game, even recreational. I know that for me, matches always go better when I am playing "in the moment", so not getting frustated by errors or losing important points, which can be really difficult. But if you're beating yourself up and getting frustrated, you've most likely already lost, because then you will tense up and your shots just won't be as effective. I think things like mindfulness and relxatino techniques can be really benefical. So focusing on the present moment, in a non-jugemental way. Maybe focusing on your breathing or focusing on your ball and playing your intended shots based on the ball you get.

I would agree with what you said. I think in particular what really sets the top players, particularly Federer, Nadal Serena, Venus, Sharapova and Djokovic apart from other players is their immense mental strength and belief in themselves. Obviously they have the incredible talent which goes alongside that but I don't think they would have won as many titles and slams as they had without their mental strength.

P.S BTW, big fan. Your mixed doubles run at Wimbledon last year was awesome and you've been doing really well on tour too, slowly climbing up the ranknigs. I hope you can continue with that soon.
 

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Surely the most obvious example in the women's game is Karolina Pliskova.
She can show emotion here and there (scream after a winner, expression of frustration when things don't work...). I think Barty controls her emotions better - and can still improve on that.
 

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I’m a tennis player trying to navigate his way up the rankings and what I seem to be finding is that the further you climb the rankings, the more and more it becomes a mental game.

Once you get to a certain level, everyone can play amazing tennis. No one has huge weaknesses in their game which can be targeted. Therefore the winner or loser is often decided on who can mentally handle the big moments better.

I was curious to get your thoughts on how much you think the mental side of the game matters. Considering there’s the physical, technical, tactical and mental: what proportion of the game does the mental side take up?

Mmm confidence and faith in shots is mentallity strong but can only be achieved through physical work and reaffirming these qualities by performing them consistency.
Generally speaking training is more important than the match and as you, me or anyone must work harder in training to see these improvements translate.
When you train at a top level you develop confidence in oneself, technique, stratergies, strengths.
Sometimes this doesnt translate and that means the player will lose confidence or faith so it is very important.

Mentality for me, makes up atleast 40%. As you said every pro can play tennis. Its their job. But i think some really are wired different
 

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I think it’s mental and physical.

Anyone can practice with the racquet for years and have perfect technique.

1. Being elite physically gives you a huge mental edge, because you feel resilient in longer rallies, games, matches. When you feel more secure in your body and fitness, you don’t rush points, you can maintain clear thinking because your body is strong and not tired. I think this has a huge advantage mentally.

2. We are all using the word “mental” here. But I think the key word that separates the great from the good is: belief.

You have to believe you can win every single point. Every single match. Beat every single player. You have to believe in yourself, your game. Feed off playing great players because you know you’ll get better for it.

At a certain level as stated, you’re good. You can hit most any shot. But do you believe you can do it when you need to?

That’s the difference IMO.
 

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Obviously you need the skill and athletic talent. But I think the mental game is very important also. You have to play big points well to win a close match
Hard to put a number on it, because it really is one of many factors that are not quantifiable by any measure
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Excellent first post. (y)

I noticed different players take different options based on their character. Some need to be pumped up constantly, excessively, to find relentless energy. Examples are numerous on the WTA (Kenin comes to mind). Others will try to stay calm and focused as much as possible, even avoiding to waste energy on useless side effects. The bad reverts of being pumped up is that when you all of a sudden feel down, it makes you flop hard since your game rely a lot on confidence. So I'd rather advise calm, focus and concentration to be able to find a solution in any situation. That's not a majority of players doing that. Barty may be among those. I think she tries to stay in control.
I definitely think different people perform best at different levels of arousal. Take a McEnroe for example, he performed best when he was highly aroused, but others like a Federer perform best when they are calm and composed. Everyone has an optimum arousal level which they need to meet during matches.

I did write a whole guide on the mental side of tennis with the focus on ‘The Mindfulness Method’ which is the method Djokovic admittedly uses. You can get your free copy here if interested: Guide to Mental Toughness
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think at whatever level you are at, it's a huge part of the game, even recreational. I know that for me, matches always go better when I am playing "in the moment", so not getting frustated by errors or losing important points, which can be really difficult. But if you're beating yourself up and getting frustrated, you've most likely already lost, because then you will tense up and your shots just won't be as effective. I think things like mindfulness and relxatino techniques can be really benefical. So focusing on the present moment, in a non-jugemental way. Maybe focusing on your breathing or focusing on your ball and playing your intended shots based on the ball you get.

I would agree with what you said. I think in particular what really sets the top players, particularly Federer, Nadal Serena, Venus, Sharapova and Djokovic apart from other players is their immense mental strength and belief in themselves. Obviously they have the incredible talent which goes alongside that but I don't think they would have won as many titles and slams as they had without their mental strength.

P.S BTW, big fan. Your mixed doubles run at Wimbledon last year was awesome and you've been doing really well on tour too, slowly climbing up the ranknigs. I hope you can continue with that soon.
Really insightful post. I use mindfulness on court to try to bring my best tennis in the big moments. I wrote a whole guide on it if you’d like to check it out. Great for coaches, players, tennis parents or even tennis fans. I think mindfulness can be used in every aspect of life. Here it is:My Guide to Mental Toughness
 

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She really came here to market her book to tennis freaks.

I swear...
 
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