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Sports Psychology, Teenagers, Tennis And Choking

Posted by: Dr. Granat on July 27, 2006

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

improved significantly.

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 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.

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