Updated: Aug 21, 2021
“Overthinking, also, best known as creating problems that are never there.”
– David Sikhosana
Tennis: One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a tennis player is overthinking. Tennis is a fast-paced game, and there is not much time to think during rallies; however, there is plenty of time to think between points, games, and sets.
During rallies, one needs to be able to trust themselves and act on their instinct. A tennis player needs to learn how to trust the effort and skills one has put in during the training and act on their first decision because changing one's mind before a shot leads most of the time to failure. During a rally, the rule is straightforward: Make a decision. Commit. Execute. Did it work out? Great!
Did it not work out? Iterate and try again!
The time between points and games can be beneficial for recovery but also very dangerous. Between points, games, and sets, one has plenty of time to think, and that is when most of the overthinking and overanalyzing can happen. As a tennis player, you need to know how to self-regulate and control your mind, thoughts, and emotions. A lot of things happen on the court during a match, and you are out there alone. You are the only one who can figure out how to deal with it.
Tennis is as much of a mental game as it is about physical performance - the quality of your overall tennis game. Learning how to think less between points, games, and sets can allow you to stay focused on what is now and eliminate negative thoughts that are not productive.
Life: We humans can often think too much. Learn to recognize when thinking is needed and is productive and when thinking is not productive. This is especially true when one starts overthinking and overanalyzing.
Have you ever run different what-if iterations of your past, present, or future in your head? After these thoughts, have you ever thought to yourself: "Oh yea, this what-if analysis was so refreshing, fun, and productive?!" I would argue that this statement falls into the "said no one ever" category.
I like being diligent and thinking things through, but there is a difference between thinking things through well (which is valuable and productive) and overthinking/ overanalyzing. One can easily push themselves over to the unproductive overthinking and overanalyzing state where one runs different iterations of the past, present, or future in one's head.
My tennis advice for life:
Learn to recognize when your thinking is not productive. Then, learn how to stop your thoughts or if you are unable to stop them, learn how to direct them to something more productive.
How? That is on you to figure out.
Each of us is unique and have our own way to control and navigate our mind. I have my tips and tricks that work for me, and I am still improving and iterating on them. The best way to learn how to control your mind is to practice and experiment with different tricks and approaches.
Train your brain!
Comment below if you have a tip or a trick that works for you and would like to share.