ITF Coaches Education Programme

Coaching High Performance Players Course

EMOTIONAL CONTROL FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE PLAYERS INTRODUCTION
By Miguel Crespo & Machar Reid

Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009

In this session we will…
• Explain the definition of arousal, anxiety and stress as they relate to tennis • Understand the importance of effectively dealing with these for high performance • Provide guidelines on how identify the causes of both mental and physical stress in tennis
Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009

Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 • .Introduction • Control of the emotional aspects during tennis play is of paramount importance both for high performance and enjoyment of the game. Several terms that are related to maintaining an emotional equilibrium such as: – – – arousal anxiety stress.

Arousal/Activation: Definition State of the organism that varies in a continuum from the sleep to the intense excitation Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .

Degrees • High----> Over-excitation • Medium--> Ideal State • Low--> Apathy Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .

Arousal Level is Individual Player A Player B Player C Weinberg (2002) PERFORMANCE High Moderate Low Low Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 Moderate AROUSAL High .

Control of the activation: Importance • Players should achieve maximum performance • Players should be physically and mentally activated • Each player has to try to find his own optimal state of activation to perform at 100% Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .

and intensity within the stressful environment of competition.Psychological skills in tennis: Arousal control • Skill that enables a player to find the right balance of relaxation. calmness. • “…against their biological fight-or flight alarm response…” Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .

Feeling of high anxiety and/or fear. bad line call.Typical Signs of Over-Arousal • • Muscles become too tight and rigid. Inability to think clearly and accurately. shallow and irregular breathing. • Attention gests fixed on one thing and can’t seem to refocus e. Become fatigued very quickly. personality of opponent. • • • • • • Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . etc.g. Decreasing emotional control. Fast heart rate. high blood pressure. Become increasingly negative and self-critical. Difficulty in concentration and focusing (Everything appears to be going too fast). interfering noises.

Activation: Over-excitation State • Physical: Increase of hear rate. short breath. sweat. fatigue. lack of coordination • Mental: Nervousness. fear. Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . lack of concentration. rigidness. tank.

easiness. motivation. concentration.Activation: Optimal Activation State • Physically: Lots of control. optimism. joy Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . tolerance to pain. amnesia. mental and emotional harmony • Mental: Self-confidence.

• Optimal Activation State and Inverted U Performance + Level of performance Overarousal Ideal Performance State Underarousal + Level of Arousal - Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .

Low patience and “don’t really care” feeling. Poor concentration ⎯ easily distracted by almost anything. Often accompanied by a sense of helplessness (“nothing I do works”). Feeling of being slow like a cold starting engine. Athlete often gives the appearance of being bored and lazy. • • • • • • Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .Typical Signs of Under-Arousal • Feeling as if you just don’t have much energy or fire. • Noticeable absence of tension or anxiety. Poor sense of timing or anticipation ⎯ frequently late timing.

Activation: Apathy State • Physical: Heaviness. lack of enthusiasm. poor anticipation. mental apathy. player is slow. lack of coordination • Mental: Bad temper. bad perception. Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . aversion to play.

trait anxiety: a personality characteristic leading to the objective perception of non-dangerous circumstances as threatening thereby resulting in disproportionate state anxiety responses (Spielberger. 1966) Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .Anxiety: Definition • • Negative emotional state. a form of arousal triggered by fear or perception of danger. state anxiety: a temporary change in mood state and feelings of tension. Components: – – – – cognitive anxiety (worry. nervousness) somatic anxiety (degree of perceived physical activation).

you’ll never reach your full potential. Why? – One reason is that they succumb to pressure If you don’t learn to respond to it. – – Be aware of the pressure points in tennis Have a plan to handle that pressure Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .Stress • • • Lots of players don’t play up to their potential.

Stress: Definition • • Imbalance between demand and response capability. and the cycle of heightening stress and poor performance would engulf the player. producing a physical and psychological reaction. Process or sequence of events that starts with the presentation of psychological and/or physical demands The demands are then perceived as “threatening”. it will become an additional demand. If this reaction triggers a poor performance or outcome. Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 • • .

g. trait anxiety self-esteem.Stress: Sources • Situational: – – degree of event importance (e. High trait anxiety and low self-esteem are associated to more extreme state anxiety reactions (Perry and Williams.g. 1998). the greater the uncertainty. Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 • Personal: – – – . the more important the event. the greater the stress). the more stress provoked) uncertainty of the situation (e.

rainy. etc. tennis is a game of highly-tuned skills Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .Physical stress can be caused by : • Playing in long matches • Playing in poor weather conditions (windy.) • Not being able to relax between shots • Attempting to master shots that call for precision. cold. hot) • Playing on poor courts (cracked surfaces.

such as an umpire’s decision Focusing on the outcome rather than your performance Beating yourself over the head for making mistakes.Mental stress can be caused by : • • • • • • • • • • A lack of confidence due to inadequate training Inability to be coached during a match. rather than learning from them Using negative self-talk Envisioning yourself performing poorly Not shutting out outside distractions Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . they’re on their own Fear of failure (especially as related to self-worth issues) Inability to keep the game in perspective Focusing on things you can’t control.

• All players feel it. • For a player’s potential to be fulfilled. Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . and some try to ignore it. lots fear it. a plan for pressure management is essential (Gould.Pressure • Pressure is a term often used when coaches and players are asked to define stress. 1997).

MISTAKE MANAGEMENT!! Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 .Pressure • Doesn’t automatically cause poor performance • It’s our interpretation of the pressure that causes to either: – be excited and challenged by it. • Players need specific techniques to handle those situations that can make or break your game. or – to be nervous and anxious about it. and respond negatively. and thus more likely to respond positively.

but how.you are going to handle it.“The question isn’t whether you choke or not. . .” John McEnroe Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . Part of being a champion is being able to cope with [choking] better than everyone else.when you choke .

CONTROL Factors • • • • • • • Can control Your mental state How you feel Your response to situations Your intensity level Your thoughts How you act Your confidence Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 • • • • • • • Cannot control The weather Your parent’s (coach’s) actions Your opponent’s actions A string breaking Court surface Opponent’s line calls Your tournament draw Weinberg (2002) .

etc. try to avoid responsibility. Ready for the match. paralysis or everything happens at 100 miles per hour. Optimal activation state. head and racquet low. May be tentative. This is how the champions play!! Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . the umpire. indecisive. It is difficult to play like that! Suffocation. Blocked due to pent up frustration with oneself. thinks he is better than the other player. does not try. Is it worth playing like this? Physical violence (racquet abuse) and Verbal violence (insults). seeks excuses. complains continuously. the opponent. arms.Emotional responses in a match Emotional response Aspects Physically Tank Mentally Comment Physically Anger Mentally Comment Physically Fear Mentally Comment Physically Fight Mentally Comment Characteristics Hands. Switches off. feeling of heaviness. Fear is good because it means that the player is fighting and cares. the crowd.

Reactions in between points • • • • • • • Exploding Holding it Rushing Not thinking Catastrophizing Wandering Sleeping Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 Or a combination of all .

2. Evaluation by coaches. 3. 2002) Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 . 4. peers and parents 1. Performance Impairment Rushing shots Timing and coordination breakdown Attending to irrelevant cues Muscle tightness and soreness Attentional changes Internal focus Narrow focus Reduced flexibility 1. Physical changes Increased muscle tension Increasing breathing rate Racing heart rate 1. 2. 2. 3.The Process of Choking Conditions leading to choking 1. Critical points 3. 3. Big match 2. (Weinberg.

Feelings associated with altered states Physical Feelings The zone Loose Relaxed Solid Balanced Strong Ligth Energetic Effortless Fluid Smooth Choking Tight Tense Shaky Unsteady Weak Heavy Tired Hard Choppy Awkward Coach Education Series Copyright © ITF 2009 Psychological Feelings The zone Controlled Confident Powerful Commanding Calm Tranquil Peaceful Easy Clear Focused Choking Beaten Scared Weak Dominated Upset Panicked Worried Rushed Confused Overloaded Nideffer (1992) .