This week I received a dozen phone calls from parents of highly competitive
teenage tennis players. Virtually all of the parents who called had the same
kinds of concerns.
“My kid can beat anybody in practice, but chokes in tournaments.”
“My child is constantly losing to players he should beat.”
“My daughter is in a slump and she just can’t seem to get out of it. Her coach
does not know what to do and neither do we.”
Choking is a rather complicated phenomenon. However, many of the teens, coaches and
parents who I counsel have not evaluated their kids’ game in a comprehensive
manner. Once a comprehensive evaluation is performed, a plan for improving
a player’s performance can be successfully implemented.
Several years ago, I counseled a teenager who’s mother owned a tennis club.
I was shocked at how little this youngster new about tennis strategy. She was
quite talented physically, but very weak on developing a strategy to suit her style
the styles of her opponents. Once I taught her some basic strategies her game
When I coach a tennis player, I look at their internal game as well as their
external game. The internal game includes mental toughness, strategy and their
ability to get themselves into the zone. A program for getting into the zone
can be found on my site www.stayinthezone.com or at
The external game includes mechanics, physical fitness, quickness, reflexes, balance
and stamina. A youngster who is choking in tennis tournaments needs to be evaluated
on these internal and external parameters. Then he or she can benefit from
advice and interventions which are based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Dr. Granat can be reached at 888 580-ZONE.