Written by Ian Westermann
Mental Toughness — 25 November 2013
3 Step Distraction Solution – Podcast #223

Do you have a hard time keeping your focus during tennis matches? Are you instead constantly distracted by your annoying opponent, his/her terrible line calls, spectators, players on the next court and a long list of other such things?

If so, congratulations – you’re human!

Distractions are something that we all deal with at some point or another so it’s extremely important to know what to do about it. Today’s episode of the podcast will give you a three step process to help you deal with distractions during your tennis matches.

Questions? Comments? Leave them below. Thanks for listening!

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  1. Ian…

    Thanks. More great info. (I didn't even know you had a bunch of podcasts on your site – I'll be listening to more.

    I'm pretty good about NOT letting outside stuff distract me, but play with many people who get distracted, angry, emotional about the slightest things. I"ll definitely pass your tips and the link to this podcast on to them all. They drive me crazy.

    My big problem is just losing focus internally. It has nothing to do with outside factors. It's just my feeble mind. I'll miss an "easy" shot (although I don't believe there are any "easy" shots in tennis – too many things are moving at once to have anything be easy) and realize after I shank it or hit in the net or against the fence, that I was thinking about what I might have for lunch. Totally distracted. Yes, completely in a Zone – but in the lunch Zone, not the tennis Zone. I work on it all the time, but it's a hard thing to get under control. I use rituals between points – focus on my breath, for example. Things like that. But it's still tough.

    If you have any tips, tricks, or techniques that you like and have had success with to help me (us, really because I know I"m not alone in this) stay in a calm, focused state of mind for a whole match or practice session, it would be great to hear.

    Appreciate all you're doing.

    Best…

    Dexter

  2. Ian can u please do a video on staying in "the zone" or mentally focused? What i'm finding is after about an hour to an hour and a half, my friend and I both fall into a state of tiredness and everything starts crashing. Is this a physical problem? or is this us mentally crashing?

  3. Ian can u do more tennis podcasts please? Even an opinion podcast like the best tennis player ever, etc would be great. interesting to hear your opinion on things.

  4. Great podcast as usual Ian. I'm wondering if you could address an element of this in a future podcast. I play at a 4.0-4.5 level consistently. I experience the same problems with distraction that you mention here with a twist: as the match goes on and I get tired, physically and/or mentally, I find it very, very hard to maintain any consistent level of concentration, especially in a match where I'm only being successful if I'm 'in the zone'. If it's hot outside (+85 F) the heat starts to get to me. If I tweak my back/shoulder/neck/toe, it causes distraction. If my water is too warm/cold/empty, it starts to get to me. All of these types of things erode my concentration and, naturally, my game.

    Do you have any techniques you use to reset your brain, either between points or between points even, especially when you are becoming physically tired?

  5. Useful podcast as usual, Ian.
    I'm an older player (69) and compete at a relatively high level for my age (ITF Seniors circuit in Australia) and am continually keen to improve in every way.
    The two areas where I would appreciate advice in future podcasts are: 1. in dissipating doubting thoughts in my mind ("if I lose this game, I'm a break down" etc etc) and 2. advanced pattern of play strategies.
    Re 1., what do you suggest in addition to the usual routines between points (adjust strings, walk to the back of the court etc)?
    Re 2., what do you suggest in addition to, for example, shortish crosscourt followed by deep to the other side?
    I'm not asking for a personal lesson! Just wondering if either of these topics may be included in future podcasts.
    Meanwhile, I'm enjoying what you put out—-thanks.