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Tennis is a game of strong and resilient confidence


It is not uncommon for coaches to tell their players to be confident and/or to play confidently. Such advice is sound but it often leaves players at a loss to know how to be confident, how to maintain it during a match, tournament event or season and, if required, how to regain it if lost. Players generally know when they feel confident – they are positive, focused, goal-directed and self-assured, hit the ball cleanly and go for their shots, thrive on the pressure of training and competition and have no doubt as to their ability to perform well. Awareness of being confident may not be sufficient with some players in need of a coach’s help to gain a fuller understanding of the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of this much desirable and admired attribute. To address these aspects let us examine confidence in more detail and see what role a coach can play in guiding players to develop and nurture confidence.


 Interestingly, there are numerous definitions of confidence to be found in sport literature. A popular one proposed by Weinberg and Gould is “The belief or degree of certainty that individuals possess about their ability to be successful in sport” (p. 322). More simply conceptualized by Rotella (2004), confidence is “thinking about the things you want to happen” (p.37). In this context, players who are confident think about what they want to happen on the court in contrast to players who lack confidence thinking about the things they do not want to happen on the court.

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