The belief in the key significance of consistent work on sport psychology for optimal tennis training is what unites our team and constitutes a cornerstone of our regular programme at the academy. For us the tennis game is mostly mental and to be able to contribute to developing tennis players, mental training needs to be part of players’ everyday work, on and off the court. Last year we changed the format of our work on the mental side of the game by adding even more hours to the programme, including group sessions and multiple workshops. After a year of cooperation, our team of sport psychologists from Altrendiment has sent us the following message:
‘Since September, our players have worked once or twice a week on the mental part of the game with a team of four sport psychologists, both on and off the court, and during confinement we continued our work through regular webinars.
In tennis the mental part plays a very important role, perhaps only golf being comparable to tennis in this regard. All professional players, coaches, academies declare how important the mental game is in tennis and in players’ development, but very few actually work with accredited specialists on the mental side correctly.
I met Rafa (the BTA director) as a student during my Master’s studies in Sport Psychology. In most academies over the world coaches simultaneously perform their roles of coaches and sport psychologists with no specific education in Sport Psychology (a university degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Sport Psychology, at least 7 years of education). One may wonder what things they are able to teach their players from sport psychology… It’s not so easy – it takes seven years of education, thousands of hours of study and practice!
It is not uncommon to see on numerous websites of tennis academies that they include mental training in their programmes whereas not a single professional is listed who would be qualified for performing this job and in some cases no time slot during a week is specifically dedicated to sport psychology training. Usually, the prevalent idea is that it’ll come out all by itself during practice. By a kind of magic.
It’s funny (or not) that the only coach that I know who is accredited to work as a sport psychologist – Rafa decided to contract a sport psychology team so as not to mix roles and to be able to fully focus on being a coach and academy director and let other professionals work on the mental side.
From Altrendiment.com (Sport Psychology Services) hired by BTA, we want to give our thanks to BTA because for them the mental part is not just mere words and declarations, but a key part of their weekly programme and the coaches are fully involved in the process of evolution of their players.’