Coaching

'Pretend to be a Champion' : Visualising at home

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‘Pretending to be a Champion’

I always remember as a kid pretending to play a match with my racket in my front room. Trying to copy Boris Becker with putting out pillows and jumping for a pretend diving volley across the room. Thud sounds of me moving around hitting my backhand, scurrying around the bedroom for an inside out Agassi forehand and picking up a tough volley like Edberg. Through Lockdown guess what I have been doing it again!

After just 5-10 minutes of pretending to hit a few balls improved my mood and put a smile on my face after being bored and stressed with lockdown. Then more thoughts came into my head of when I return to the court, what comps I can play in summer despite there being no chances to train on the court. Suddenly my goals of playing British Grass Seniors at Wimbledon is still possible.

I have studied Visualisation before at University and benefits can flooding back to me, improving your confidence, mental prep for matches, improving technique and more . Mental preparation is still possible at home and learning how to visualise is a skill in itself. I believe to to help our mental health through lockdown and bring excitement and realise endorphins from burst of exercise.

WHO USES VISUALISATION ?

Apparently Pele’ did the same with putting a towel over his head and imagining himself dribbling the ball and scoring goals. His dreams were visualised and they came true many times. When I was in an amateur comp in Australia I also saw the eventual winner with a towel over his head before matches shutting off distractions whilst replaying his best performance.  

It has been well researched that visualisation can help sporting performance and used in a wide variety of settings for example fire fighters visualising in hot setting, soldiers replaying scenarios of attacks as a team and business men being relaxed before an important pitch to clients.

Cool Runnigs visualising for a bobsleigh run

HOW TO VISUALISE…

Visualisation is a like you are replaying the highlights of your perfect performance and replaying these actions and controlling your emotions will help you recreate this in real life. To set yourself for visualisation you need first to be relaxed and essentially in a good mood. Progressive muscle relaxation can help by closing your eyes and tensing different muscles in the body from lower to upper body) and then relaxing them, this helps release tension. When relaxed there are two ways you could do this …

  • Shadow Tennis (mimic the shots and pretend to play points with the racket )
  • or imagine yourself playing the perfect rally, point or game.
  • Watch a pro on TV and copy their shots whilst in the rally

The key things to then reply in your mind is clarity with the following…

  • focus on good technique, good movement and realistic shots
  • Let it flow, don’s stop and start , keep going.
  • Playing different scenario’s is important as well the Hollywood shots. Defending a tough backhand, return a big serve, hitting rally ball of course I have to finish off with a jumping Monfils forehand.
  • Enjoy it and have fun ! No one is watching you (apart from your pets)