Modern era is definitely a comfortable time for us. Improvements in technology made our life much easier and faster. We use gps to get to the tournament without spending so much time on looking through the paper map. We can check restaurants from any place in the world because our phone gives us this opportunity. Overall smartphones are devices that we can’t live without. But do they have any negative effects? Yes, especially for athletes.
During my adolescence years it was the beginning of era where we had mobile phones. Of course it was something new but services included were really limited. We used mobile phones mostly to play games, send messages and later on to make blurry pictures. Nowadays all people spend several hours a day by looking at their screens and going through different apps and websites because we are connected to the internet 24/7. It simply means that we have access to global information all the time. Is it good? Yes. Is it bad? Yes. It all depends how and when we use it.
Tennis players have a lot of duties if they want to become the next world starts so their schedules are busy. It is not surprising that they look for different entertainments but they have to understand how these activites can influence their on-court performance. Tennis is a sport of details so your hard work can be wasted in seconds and that is why it is important to be aware of priorities and right times for working activities and leisure periods.
It is not uncommon to see athletes using their phones during the practice session. In my opinion this is the first step to lower your performance and get less quality from your training. If you want to achieve your potential you have to be responsible for your actions. Focus on your work, make it done and then check your phone. Why should you do it? Here are the reasons:
Reason no 1
In tennis focus pays a crucial role. If you want to play your best game and achieve great results you have to learn how to keep your attention at proper things. And there is no better time to do it than during practice. If you check your phone after drills your focus wanders from tennis to friends, movies, and games. With this kind of attitude you will mix great drills with poor activites. This is not how professional players practice. Remember what you do during training session you will copy during the match. If you want to win tournaments you have to prepare for that every day. Your phone is your rival to beat so set goals and keep it safely in your bag.
Reason no 2
Feelings control your actions
Feelings have a lot of power. They can influence our behaviours unless we learn how to control them. It is not an easy task because we can experience that even top players underperform when they are angry, overexcited or sad. Where do the feelings come from? From different situations. And these situations can happen during practice session. If we don’t check our phone during breaks we don’t know these situations so they don’t have an influence on our game. On the other hand if we get to know that our friend is talking behind our back while preparing for the next drill there is a big chance that our performance will suffer. Limit exposure to information from phone and you will train in a quality manner.
Reason no 3
Protect your eyes
Our eyes are getting tired more than ever before. We spend more hours in front of TV, computers and smartphones than our predecessors. Additionally tennis doesn’t make it easier because we put our eyes under stress all the time when we track the ball on the tennis court. That is why not using phones during the practice will reduce tiredness and will help us to get our eyes working only when they have to. It is a matter of priorities. What is more important for you? Hitting great passing shots or checking Facebook updates?
Day has 24 hours. There is definitely enough time to eat, sleep, train, rest, and use phone. Remember that you are an athlete so you have to make decisions. When you train do it 100%. When you rest focus on that. It is easy but you have to be consistent. Only consistent people get to the top.
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.