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Performance Psychology In Tennis Essay

1924 words - 8 pages

Performance psychology involves the process of facilitating the development of skills needed by the performer during his time to shine in a performance. Also, the process is almost entirely related to the events prior to the performance since they are the foundation of the desired result. This preparation involves practicing not only physically, but also mentally, psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally. In fact, the physical aspect of a performance has much less bearing than the mind and soul aspects. Tennis is a perfect example of this. No matter how much a player practices, if in the face of a match the player becomes too nervous, all of his body will freeze and will make unforced ...view middle of the document...

The externalities, or outside factors that affect a performance, vary from situation to situation; nonetheless, they need to be dealt with in some way, so that the show can go on. The motor active domain is the one that is involved with the physical aspect of a performance; in tennis that refers to practicing all the shots that exist; synchronizing the bending of knees with having the right angle for a swing and hitting the ball a certain way (e.g: with topspin, flat, slice); as well as doing conditioning exercises to increase physical strength and endurance. The affective domain is the one involved with the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspect of a performance. In tennis, the way a player prepares himself in those areas depends solely on his style. I usually use self-talk and tell myself that I’m going to play great and going to have fun; I also take my mind off of tennis completely by doing something productive like homework for example so that I don’t think too much about the match to exhaust my mind, but I’m also doing something that requires my mind to focus on one thing. In fact, I’m writing this paper right now when I have a match in 5 hours. The cognitive domain is the one involved with the neurobiological aspect of a performance, or the changes that occur in the body as a result of the other variables. In order to deal with this domain, the player needs to deal with the variable that causes the change in the body. For example, if in a match I start feeling very tense and start sweating from being nervous, I might find out that instead of using positive self-talk, I was letting my mind worry about the people that are watching me rather than stay focused on playing. Biochemically, my brain is sending signals to cells that prompt them to make me feel tense and nervous. In order to reverse that, I’d have to convince myself that there is no real reason for feeling nervous and that there is no point in worrying about whoever is watching me. It’s all about perception in the end.
The motor active domain is like the frame of a puzzle when one has assembled the outside pieces first. The variables under this domain represent the individual pieces of the frame. At first look, since the perimeter of the frame is large, it appears as though it makes up a large part of the puzzle, but in fact, the frame is made up of only a small number of pieces. This is also true in a performance: the motor active skills appear to be the greatest factors, but the truth is, there is only so much one can improve physically. Practice improves skills and creates a technique, or a particular way of executing a task. In tennis, that is closely linked to the strategy, or plan, of a player’s game-style. For example, I’m more of an offensive player who likes to make the opponent run from corner to corner and then, at the right time, hit a powerful, well-placed shot that the opponent cannot get to; in simpler terms, I like to hit winners. Technique takes time and practice...

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