“Peak performance is not about being perfect; it is about compensating and adjusting” (Ravizza, 2006). IPS typically occurs only 10% of the time, so what do you do with the other 90%? “The answer is you have to be ready to adjust and compensate more often than being in IPS. Many athletes have destroyed themselves mentally because they can not attain a perfect performance when it was desired. Mistakes and distractions are going to occur but it is about how you choose to respond to these mistakes and distractions” (Ravizza, 1998). Players need to first learn to set realistic expectations and second be ready to adjust when those expectations are not met.
Be Ready to Adjust Yourself
Many novice tennis players expect to play well or hope they perform well every time they play.
However, when their high performance expectations are not being met it can lead to having high or low arousal levels, anger, frustration, loss of focus, and too much muscle tension. Many times when these begin occurring players can lose control unless they are able to recognize and adjust to these undesired changes.
Instead of expecting and hoping to play well, players should be ready to adjust and compensate each time they begin playing. Therefore, if a player is not playing well, he needs to make adjustments to move himself toward IPS. When you adjust and compensate, you are less likely to become frustrated because your performance expectations are not as high.
Be Ready to Adjust to Your Opponent’s Style
Players need to learn to be ready to make adjustments and compensate for their opponents’ play. Many junior tennis players have not learned the proper way to adjust to their opponents’ style of play. Every player hits the ball with a different amount of spin, pace, trajectory of shots, and different placements and patterns. Therefore, just because a player plays well against one opponent does not mean they are going to play well against another. Many junior tennis players become surprised or frustrated when they expect high performance against every player they face. The key to playing well against different styles of players is being ready to adjust and compensate to anyone across the net. Players need to learn to make appropriate adjustments to their opponents’ pace, trajectories, and style of play. Once players have the ability to make appropriate adjustments they will be able to compete smarter and more effectively.
Be Ready to Adjust to the Conditions of Play
Another important factor that affects performance is the condition of play, such as the court conditions (fast hard-court or slow hard-court, clay court or grass court) and the weather conditions (windy, humid, or dry). Players need to learn how to play in different conditions by practicing in these conditions whenever the opportunity presents itself. They have to learn to accept whatever conditions exist; otherwise they will get discouraged and use the conditions as an excuse for poor performance. “You cannot control what happens around you, but you can control how you respond to it” (Ravizza,, 2006). Once players are able to accept the conditions of play, they can come up with the most effective strategy for that particular condition.