ITF Tennis Psychology Book ReviewITF Tennis Psychology provides an outstanding discussion of sports psychology in the game of tennis.
The book is divided into four main parts:
1. Mental skills for tennis
2. Mental training techniques and plans
3. On- and off-court psychological drills and activities
4. Other important issues and an appendix
Here's a brief overview of each section:
Part I - Mental Skills For TennisIn this theoretical part of ITF Tennis Psychology, you'll learn different mental skills required to play tennis successfully and how they relate to other tennis skills.
Besides mental skills like motivation, emotional control (arousal control), control of thoughts, concentration and others, the book also addresses how personality, values, sportsmanship, ethics and other aspects affect the mental state of the player.
You will also find a very useful assessment of player burnout and how to prevent that.
Choking is another well researched topic and you can find a detailed analysis of why choking happens, how it affects the player mentally and physically, and how to fight it.
Part II - Mental Training Techniques and PlansThe second part of ITF Tennis Psychology shows the player how to train mentally to improve tennis performance.
These mental training techniques include goal-setting, visualisation, arousal control, rituals, attentional control and others.
I really liked the example of a two-hour training session for a competitive player with practical tennis drills combining technical, physical, tactical and mental part of the game.
Part III - On- and Off-court Psychological Drills and ActivitiesThis part sets ITF Tennis Psychology book apart from any other book written about the mental game of tennis.
There are more than 200 practical tennis drills organized into 5 main game situations:
- baseline play,
- playing at the net, and
- passing the net player.
Here are some examples:
a) Developing concentration from the baseline : players rally with 2 balls
b) Mistake management: coach feeds easy volleys and smashes to the players. A successful volley earns the player 1 point, and a mistake earns one point for the coach. Players should demostrate that they are able to accept mistakes, learn from them and ready themselves for the next point.
c) Emotional control: players play a set with their service games alternately starting at 15:40 and 40:15.
Part IV - Other Important IssuesPart IV of the ITF Tennis Psychology includes specific mental considerations at selected points in a player's career (junior, professional, retired, experiencing performance slump, etc.), and a discussion of the psychological benefits of tennis practice.
What I really liked about this part were the psychological assessments for coaches and tennis parents.
Here are some of the questions for tennis parents who wish to make the best of their part in the success of their child.
Each question is answered from this range of ratings:
1 never 2 seldom 3 sometimes 4 often 5 always
a) I am not an additional source of pressure (i.e. to win) for my child.
b) I value the good behaviour of my child more than the match result.
c) After the match, I treat my child the same no matter the result.
Final WordsWith this book, the International Tennis Federation has created an excellent resource for tennis coaches, players and parents. I have been looking for a book like this for many years.
ITF Tennis Psychology has helped me create very interesting and challenging tennis lessons for the players I coach, and they really enjoy practice sessions where we train for mental skills on court.
This book is a must for every serious tennis coach, player and tennis parent and I give it 5 out 5 stars.
You can order the book through the official ITF store.