Let's talk optimal performance. Whether you play or coach tennis
professionally, or just slug it out on the weekends, there is a
wealth of exciting news available for you from the world of sport
psychology. Are you keeping up-to-date on the fascinating
developments in this field? If not, you are depriving yourself of
key tools that would raise your tennis expertise to the next level.
Sport psychology was defined by Singer in 1978 as "the science of
psychology applied to sport." Sport psychologists provide two major
types of services: (1) performance enhancement strategies, and (2)
counseling for a variety of issues affecting the athlete. Although
not all tennis players have access to a qualified sport psychologist,
much can be learned from the available research.
Psychology as a scientific discipline began in 1879, making it
one of the youngest of all sciences. Sport psychology is younger
still, with only 30 years of extensive research. In fact, it wasn't
until 1985 that the Division of Exercise and Sport Psychology was
recognized as a subspecialty of the American Psychological
Association. Although still in its infancy, this field already has
much to offer. Many research findings have still not been
communicated to the player and coach in an easily available format.
Much knowledge is just waiting to be tapped! It is my opinion that
the complete tennis player and coach of the 21st century will require
all the benefits sport psychology has to offer to stay on top.
In this introductory article, I have briefly outlined several
areas involved and services provided by the sport psychologist. Look
for future articles to explore specific techniques to optimize your
performance on the tennis court.
Let's look at a few domains where sport psychology plays an
(1) Touring professionals and coaches
Here are some typical services provided by the sport
(2) National team programs
(3) Sport organizations
(4) Youth development programs
(5) Student players and coaches
(6) Families of athletes
(7) Players coping with injuries
(8) Recreational programs
(1) Imagery training
In closing, sport psychology has much to offer tennis players
and coaches at all levels. If you are looking for a competitive edge,
or trying to help your players achieve at their maximum level, turn
to the science of sport psychology! Until next month...
(2) Arousal management/attentional focus
(3) Substance abuse management
(4) Eating disorders/weight management
(5) Relaxation training
(6) Motivational strategies
(7) Competitive pressure management
(8) Programs to cope with retirement from sport