- Shake your arms and let them dangle from your shoulders, letting all the tension go out of your arms and making them feel sloppy and loose.
- Let your jaw dangle and release from clenching your teeth.
- Bounce on your toes between points, staying centered and light on your feet.
- Do some stretching between points.
- Sit down on the changeovers whether you are tired or not.
- Swing the racquet loosely between your fingers in between points or place it in your non-dominant hand to avoid the "death" grip.
- Be your own best friend and talk positively to yourself.
- Eliminate negative thoughts or pictures.
- If you are feeling too much pressure, let your mind wander between points. Too much intensity can be tiring.
- Learn to put things in a humorous light.
- Put things in perspective overall. Enjoy the battle.
- Clear your mind between points. You cannot change the past only the future. Don't dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.
- Keep analyzing and planning to a minimum, using picture images rather than words.
- Picture yourself at your best, performing at your highest level.
- Take some deep breaths between points. Focus on your breathing and make sure they are not too shallow. Listen and feel it.
- Breathe from the diaphragm between points to avoid hyperventilation.
- Breathe in conjunction with opponent's shots and breathe out on impact with your shots.
- Count backward from 10 slowly to calm yourself and bring about a more relaxed state.
- Take more time in preparing for serve and return of service. Touching the back fence in between each point will make you become more deliberate.
- Act confidently and you will feel that way. Shoulders and chin up, do not show your frustration to your opponent.
- Keep the racquet in your hand. Throwing the racquet may feel like a release, but it is the beginning of the downward spiral.
- Smile between points once in a while.
- Move more deliberately in picking up balls in between points.
- Spin the racquet in your hands and straighten your strings between points.
I hope these simple suggestions will help you stay on top of your stress in your next big match. Please comment and let me know if you have other techniques that work well for you. See you on the court.