Novak Djokovic said it after winning the Australian Open: "The secret of success is in self-esteem. This is true for athletes but probably for anyone in their sector. When we have to face complicated moments, we have to look for solutions deep within ourselves, to see ourselves as winners, to remain in a positive mental state.
I believe in visualization and I practice it continuously. Imagining a perfect shot in one's mind is easier than hitting it on the court." But even Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and even Serena Williams can be masters in finding a source of power in self-esteem.
The visualization technique can help to find a condition of mental comfort that makes it easier to reproduce with the body what has been seen with the mind. The American Frank Giampaolo, the author of the book The Tennis Parent's Bible and Neuro Priming for Peak Performance, is one of the best exponents of this mental technique.
According to Giampaolo, a protocol should be developed that players should respect at three different times. He says: "What we think is often what we then create on the court: visualizing positive moments helps to achieve what we imagined without hesitation."
The three fundamental moments are: before the match, in training and during the match day. Before the match. For three days before a match, sit back and remember a winning performance. You try to relive that feeling, especially if you have emerged successfully from a situation of strong pressure.
This will help you to fight fear and nervousness. In training. As you perform the exercises, think about what goal you want to achieve each time you hit a shot and imagine you are getting a satisfactory result. Many try to enter the court with a clear mind but a positive memory can give more charge and more energy.
Match Day. Arrive early at the club and you will have twenty minutes to mentally review the goals you have tried to achieve in training. Go to a quiet place, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. So, create what is called your own positive movie, a clear image in your mind that provides a good performance in terms of shots, tactics, emotional responses to difficult times.
When you have seen your movie, the time has come to make it come true. In fact, as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena and Venus Williams also taught us, self-esteem is a very important factor in taking a step forward, and this is true in all sides of life.