One of the most common phrases yelled out on a tennis court is “Watch the ball!” This is often the result of a player attempting to focus his mind and concentrate on the match, not necessarily because he is mad for not keeping his eye on the ball. However, it is true that controlling your eyes on a tennis court can help you control your mind. Allowing your eyes to drift can cause your mind to drift. Simply put, there are just too many distractions that can take away your focus. The more your vision is focused, the more your mind and concentration is focused on the task at hand.
Concentration is the ability to focus on the moment. It is the ability to block or control the internal and external distractions. Players who concentrate well can forget about bad shots they’ve made in the past, and they have confidence in their ability to pull off good shots in the future. Ideally, your focus is on the ball, the point, the match, and the moment. Concentration is a skill that can be developed through practice. Once you learn to focus your mind better, your attention and concentration will then become more controllable.
Many experienced players develop routines to help them concentrate. For example, some players bounce the ball several times as they prepare to serve, some players avoid making eye contact with their opponents by turning their backs to them as they prepare their minds for returning serve, and some simply walk around behind the baseline to gather their thoughts. It makes no difference – do whatever it takes to hold your concentration.
This Lesson is an excerpt from Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids