The Inner Game Of Tennis - A Simple Visualization Technique

Ron Passfield

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You know that you should visualize to win at tennis. The tennis professionals tell you this, as do the tennis writers. If you read the strategies of any successful sporting professional, you will hear about the importance of visualization for winning.

Visualisation strengthens your inner game of tennis because it builds your positive thinking, your self-belief and your self-efficacy.

If visualization is so important, what is stopping you from using it more? Is it because you do not know where to start? Or have you been put off by some complicated method recommended by a psychological expert?

In this article I discuss a simple method that is very easy to develop. I have been using it for many years with great success and it is now part and parcel of my way of life.

Here are the three simple steps:

1. Review a recent tennis game you played

Hopefully you have played a tennis game recently where you have done at least one really good shot; the more recent, the better. It is a lot easier to capture the detail of a tennis shot when very little time has elapsed.

I now have the habit of reviewing each game I play, almost like a television replay. I do this immediately after I have finished playing, as I drive home. I concentrate only on what I did well. I focus only on the winning shots or those that were really effective. This builds positive thinking as well as the art of visualization.

2. Choose a tennis shot that you played really well

Here you a searching through your game review to identify a particular shot that had a really positive outcome for you (and/or your doubles partner). You need to single out a shot that you intended and that had the desired positive outcome.

Now the secret is to capture as much of the shot as you can to build a rich image in your mind. Where were you standing, what was your opponent(s) doing, what kind of shot did they play to you, what did the ball do (rise high or drop low), what strategy did you decide to adopt, what stroke did you use and why, was there something about your technique that was memorable and what was the specific positive outcome for you?

This is very much like using the zoom feature on a camera. You need to zoom in on the shot you have chosen to recall and create a finely grained picture of it. Remember you have to exclude all negative thoughts from your mind as you visualize and build your positive image. Do not say, if only I had hit the tennis ball harder, it would have been a better shot. What you are trying to do is capture only what was good about the winning shot. If this is difficult, you will begin to realise how much your negative thoughts are sabotaging your inner game of tennis.

3. Develop a replay routine

Once I have decided on a shot to visualize, I keep replaying it in my head as I drive home. The value of this is that recency helps recall. In other words, the more recent the event, the greater the detail you can recall and the longer it will stay in your memory.

I am not very good at maintaining routines but the one thing I have found helpful is to replay my visualization as I am going to sleep at night. This has become my most effective relaxation technique. It is a good way to ward off insomnia. It also induces positive thoughts as you fall asleep.

Another benefit of doing the replay or recall at night is that your subconscious mind keeps replaying the image as you sleep and deepens the visualization effects. I can still recall quite vividly some shots I played many years ago in various games of competitive tennis.

In this way both the habit of visualization and the specific images become ingrained in your psyche.

The three simple steps discussed above progressively build your visualization ability, strengthen your self-belief and develop your inner game of tennis.

Ron Passfield, PhD, developed his tennis mind game over 30 years of competitive tennis. For more resources on the inner game of tennis, review Ron’s website:

Ron’s other major interest is affiliate marketing. Visit Ron’s blog, Affiliate Marketing Coach, for resources and tips on affiliate marketing:


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