“Concetrate!” I remember being told this throughout my school years and have since then reminded myself to concentrate countless times on the tennis court.
Why is “Concentration” such an illusive state of mind?
Part of the problem is that people study, work and practice tennis in sterile, silent and in some ways perfect environments. In these situations, with little or no distractions concentration is not difficult, it is natural.
But when we leave the sanctury of practicing with a coach and play matches there are many things to worry about, to be concerned about and to fear. In this situation, concentration is very unatural and difficult to achieve.
If we create a practice environment that recreates the chaos and confusion of match play then the transition to tournament play is much easier.
When working with ITF juniors, as soon as we are practicing competetively I encourage their parents to talk, comment, attempt to engage them in conversation or maybe play loud music. Essentialy anything that will make concentarting on the tennis difficult.
This has proven to be very effective training! And results in matches inevitably immproved!