Voices In My Head
Rafael Nadal’s Book – RAFA
Page 1 Wisdom.
Because what I battle hardest to do in a tennis match is to quiet the voices in my head,
to shut everything out of my mind but the contest itself and concentrate every atom of my being on the point I am playing.
If I made a mistake on a previous point, forget it; should a thought of victory suggest itself, crush it.
Don’t think you are the only person that has that running discussion going on inside your head during a tennis match. We all have it and it’s a bigger battle for some more than others. But if that conversation becomes too loud it definitely becomes a distraction and makes the job at hand far less clear. Turn down the volume if you find yourself consumed with these inner conversations. Got to take control of that dialogue.
Only The Match
One of the best things you will ever do is let go of thoughts that don’t matter to the contest. Thinking about last night’s dinner or what you are going to do after the match are not productive to the task at hand. Get rid of those thoughts and keep your mind focused on the ball, the court and the opponent.
Cross The Line
You need to hit a switch, mentally, when you walk through a gate onto the tennis court. It’s a different world than the surroundings and you need to leave all the distractions behind. When you stand on the outside of the court you need to be preparing for battle but once you cross the line and walk on the court you turn your focus to the court and nothing but the court. Different surroundings = different focus.
One Point At A Time
It’s an old cliche but it is a very correct one. It keeps your mind in the present focused on things you can effect and doesn’t let it wander or get distracted. The point at hand is the most important point and a stepping stone to getting slightly closer to winning the match. The clearer you can see the present the better your future will be.
Forget The Errors
Quickly learn from whatever mistake was made in the previous point and then forget about that point. Hanging onto the lost points is counter-productive to winning the match. Your focus needs to be positive and learning from the good points so you can repeat them again is where you need to be.
Don’t Think About Winning
Winning is not something that is talked about a lot on tour with players. Winning is the ultimate goal but it’s not the immediate goal. There are a lot of little battles, or points, that need to be fought and won before the war is won. Getting consumed with winning is one of the best ways to start losing. It’s just a focus issue. Everyone wants to win but hoping for it or obsessing about it gets you nowhere and distracts from the task at hand.
The conversation is going to be there. Understand you control it.
Don’t obsess about the problem. Obsess about the solution.
Keep your mind in the present as much as possible. That’s where the action is.
Don’t think about winning. It’s an end result of something else you can control.