Monday 9 February 2015

Psychology in tennis

Psychology in tennis

Most people think that tennis is just about training yourself physically and being able to compete in long, physical matches using your strength and endurance etc. However, you also have to train yourself mentally in order to get through tough matches. Mentality is even more important in tennis than in sports like football or hockey as you are playing on your own, for yourself. This means that you have to pick yourself up when you're down and congratulate yourself when you're playing well, there's nobody there to do it for you.
Psychology is one of the most important parts of the game. You could have perfect technique but still lose matches to players who aren't as good as you technically, because your mentality towards the game is wrong. You need to have a filter in your head which keeps you calm when you get too frustrated or aggressive. However, you must allow yourself to get fired up or  you will have no passion for the game and you will most likely lose. A good drill to train your psychology is to yell out (in training-not in a match!) what you thought of the last point straight after it finishes-don't take any time to think about it. After a while you will realise the things you are yelling at yourself are pointless and the negative thoughts will gradually stop.
However, it is almost impossible not to have any angry emotions or outbursts on the tennis court. The professionals have them and they spend so much of their time trying to keep themselves cool! To demonstrate this, the following is a link to a video of Rodger Federer, who is regarded as one of the calmest players in tennis losing it and smashing his racquet while playing Djokovic in Miami in 2009

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Change in tennis racquets

Tennis Racquets

Next I will look at how the racquets have changed since the start of tennis. Nowadays, racquets are specially made for people's styles of play. For example, in the Australian open final 2015, Andy Murray used a Radical Head racquet while Novak Djokovic used a Speed Head racquet. These have been specially tailored to suit these players' styles of play. Before, racquets were made out of wood and so they couldn't change them much to suit a specific player's style.
At first players didn't even have racquets! This was in the 11th and 12th centuries when monks invented the sport. They hit the ball with their hands against a wall or a small net. After this they began producing racquets made of wood. These were quite skinny and tall, and had a small rounded head

Towards the end of the 19th century, tennis racquets that were more like the racquets we know today. They weren't as tall, and had a larger hitting surface. However, the whole world of racquets was changed when the now famous tennis brand Wilson produced the first ever steel racquet in 1967. This followed small developments in production, like the use of fabric strings instead of pieces of animal gut, and making the racquet head bigger. The steel racquet was brought into general use by the pro Jimmy Connors who was one of the best players in the game at the time. He liked this racquet as it was lighter than the wood racquet so he was able to get more racquet head speed which in turn generated more speed and/or spin on the ball. Soon a larger racquet was developed when topspin began being used by players like Bjorn Borg. This is spin put on the top of the ball to bring it down. It is used to have more control over the ball and to keep the ball in play. The racquet was made wider, and this revolutionised the way that tennis was played all over the world.
Wooden racquet 

Head Radical racquet


Thursday 29 January 2015

Change in Tennis - General + fitness

Tennis - How has it changed?

Tennis is an inclusive sport. It brings people of all ages, all backgrounds and religions together with a simple game. It has developed in many ways over the years it has been around, and it is a dramatically different game now than it was, say, 100 years ago. I know what you're thinking: How can a sport where you just hit a ball over a net change so much? It sounds strange, but most of the way we play the game has changed, from the racquets we use to the style of play to general training and fitness levels! The rules are some of the only things that haven't changed dramatically. In this post I will be looking into the way tennis has changed throughout it's history.

The first thing I will be looking at is how the pace of the game has changed. At first, tennis was quite a slow sport used for leisure. Now, professionals are built like monsters and are able to keep playing in four or five hour long matches! The longest tennis match in professional history was 11 hours 05 minutes between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The video following is of them playing the final game in their marathon match. They have just played 11 hours of tennis and look how well they're still playing! This proves how players have stepped up their training in the last number of years in case of an event like this.

Players train everyday to keep up their physical and mental levels. That is another topic I will be looking at -  the mental side of the game. The players train from a wide range of drills. For example, they do drills on endurance, speed endurance, strength, flexibility, co-ordination and many more. All of these drills help players with the physical side of their game, but some also help with the mental side which I will be exploring in a later post.
 An example of the success of these training methods is shown in the current men's world no.1 Novak Djokovic. When he was younger he struggled with fatigue while playing longer matches. He stepped up his endurance and speed endurance training, and is now nicknamed "the Iron Man" because of his physical intensity in longer matches and his ability to play well the whole way through 5 set matches.
Another success story is Andy Murray. in 2005 he was weaker than now, and this made him less able to compete with the top players. However, he stepped up his strength training, and this made him able to play more aggressive which in turn made him one of the "big 4" players in the world (Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Federer). In the following images, the image on the bottom is Murray playing in Wimbledon 2005 and the image on the top is Murray in the Australian Open in 2015. Just look at the difference!

Friday 9 January 2015


Hi guys I'm Grant and this is my blog on the Geography of Tennis