When I first picked up a racquet in high school, I would assume the identity of a player I loved watching on TV.  One week I was Patrick Rafter and serving and volleying while the next week I was Andre Agassi by taking balls on the rise and hitting aggressive returns.  I even bought the racquets they used!  Not surprising, I played better when I did this.  Assuming the role of a player while hitting gets you in the right mindset and focus to get the most out of your playing.  Not only that, it’s fun!  Although this is a great practice we should all try when playing tennis, it goes deeper than that.  Read on and let me explain.

Identity Change

Tired of playing at your current level?  Stuck at a 3.0 or 4.0 level?  Maybe you need to adjust your thought process.  For example, if you want to be a 3.5 player but haven’t made it yet (key word is yet!), think of what a 3.5 player does that you do not.  I’m not talking about how they hit the ball but how they act.  Are they in better shape?  Do they take their practices more seriously?  Do they play their matches with more focus or energy?  Do they put fitness and health higher up on their priority list?  All of these questions need to be looked at to give yourself a reference to what you are not doing compared to what you should be doing.  Acting like the player you want to be gives you clarity to what your identity should be.  I tell my team all the time to “fake it til you make it.”  Practice and take care of your body like a champion and you will start playing like one.

A Different Way to Look At It

Here’s another perspective for you.  Many of us want to be a good tennis player.  I’m sure that goes with your career and hobbies as well.  The problem is that most of us do not want to become a good tennis player.  This is a huge difference.  The mentality of wishing to be a good tennis player is much different with someone that is willing to become a good tennis player.  Assuming this mindset will allow you to see this as a process verses an outcome.  With that said, the only thing to ask yourself is if you are up for the challenge?  I hope the answer is yes!