The outdoor tennis season is finally upon us, and I’m anticipating my competitive season. For the record, the word “competitive” is relative. I still pay to play, unlike pros such as Spain’s Rafael Nadal, Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Simona Halep of Romania and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
I’ve been warming up indoors, and now outdoors, the last several weeks – drilling and just hitting with other players.
I find myself practicing as much in my head as on the court, envisioning points in singles or doubles – mostly singles, since the match is all on me.
- Will I be able to negotiate the court with good footwork?
- Will my serve hold up and be a reliable tool?
- Are my knees up to all the running, stopping and pivoting?
- What about my down-the-line forehand – can I get it around a player who’s 6″ taller than me and has the wing span of a 747?
In my head, I can.
And that’s what really matters. Regardless what the activity is – a tennis match, presentation, project or learning a new skill: when it’s showtime, having visualized it is half the work. If I’m going to try it at all, I need to be able to see it in my mind.
By then, enough of me will be convinced that it can be done, and that I am the one who can do it.
The rest – it’s just execution.