The power of Rituals and Routines

Rituals have been around for centuries and are part of human nature from its beginnings. There are external and internal, physical and mental rituals (Thoughts focus and Language). Postures and thoughts that are capable of provoking in us certain emotions. Rituals have the property to transport us to different emotional States. In general they have a mental and a physical component that influence each other constantly. Knowing this, we can influence our mental-emotional state through movements or postures, from the outside to the inside. You can also find the spontaneous or naive rituals. The problem with them, is that not all of them are productive. Rituals can and should be trained, that way they will be available even in stress situations. Your training must include the following situations and components.
“You walk towards the back of the court, the ball boy gives you the balls. You go back towards the baseline to get ready to serve; you breathe deep and you look at the target in the service box, you jump up 2 or 3 times in the spot, you start to focus. You stand as stable as possible, take a look for the second time at your target, bounce the ball four times, you breathe again, look for the third time to your target and you aim to the right angle side of your opponent. You are already concentrated and toss the ball to serve”
“Sow a thought,Reap an action; Sow an action,Reap a habit; Sow a habit,Reap a character; Sow a character, Reap a destiny”
When an experienced tennis player is facing moments of pressure during a match, he/she goes to the things he/she does best and can control. These are, ways of playing, favorite shots and patterns but also RITUALS  to help them go through the pressure moments. Everybody experiences pressure, it doesn’t matter how good you are. Rituals can be used during the day and during your practice to prepare for the match. Also between points to reset and refocus. (Do you have yours?)
3 steps:
(1) PREPARATION:
  • Focus: Internal dialogue. Mental images.
  • Body postures (physiological activation).
(2) REACTION AFTER THE POINT: 
  • Positive sentence (internal or external)
  • Positive gesture.
(3) REGENERATION:
  • Breathing.
  • Relaxation.
These three steps can be used in different situations, for example; a point, a match, a whole tournament and even in other areas of your life.
And very important, they need to be practice!!!

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