The important thing to know is that body language not only intimidates
and affects the play of your opponent (which some players seek to do, and others are not focused upon at all), it also has
a powerful effect upon the way you play as well. Let's discuss some of the body language aspects that will help to boost
your performance, and also the ones to avoid.
1. Winners generally walk faster than losers on the court. Always
keep your pace in between points and games fast and confident - with your head and shoulders up, never slumped.
Andre Agassi used to be a great example of this, while Roddick is another.
Moving confidently between points and games has a powerful effect over your own mental attitude and performance, and shows
to your opponent that you mean business.
Avoid slow walking unless you are deliberately slowing down the quick pace
of your opponent. Players who losing a match tend to walk slower and slower as the match wears on, and their heads and
shoulders begin to drop lower and lower with each game - avoid this at all costs! It will have a negative
affect upon your performance and boost the morale of your opponent.
Every time you change ends and pass your opponent at the net, walk confidently
and quickly, and also do not show any exertion - breathe normally, not heavily - and show them that you have heaps of energy
left (even if you don't!) - as this might start to bother them if they start getting tired themselves.
So, even if you are not winning the match, act like you are. This
really confuses your opponent.
Basically you need to become - right now - the winning player you wish
to be in the future - and you do this by behaving the way this future player would behave, walking the way they this future
players would walk, and playing the way this future player would play, etc etc.
2. Become "the machine" in your opponent's eyes. Never show your
frustration or annoyance to them in any way whatsoever - hide it in any way possible. Never show your opponent that
their game is "getting to you" even if you are not winning the match - and eventually they will begin to wonder just what
it takes to get you down.
Let's face it - no-one wants to play "a machine"! By demonstrating
a relentless 'Terminator' type of attitude on court, along the lines of "I do not stop until I achieve my goal" - it can psychologically
and mentally wear down your opponent, and cause them to make crucial unforced errors at important times in the match.
Lleyton Hewitt has won many matches from this attitude.
Of course, it's fine to show positive emotions any time - just keep the
negative ones to yourself, or they will boost your opponent's morale, and their game - which is the last thing you want to
3. Create a winning feeling inside yourself during your matches, to boost
your performance. When you hit a fabulous shot or win a big point, briefly squeeze your hand into a fist and say to
yourself "yes!". (You do this purely to yourself, not towards your opponent). This reinforces the winning
feeling and help deliver optimum performance.
This is a great little habit to cultivate in your matches, to boost your
performance. While some players like to use this as an intimidation tactic towards their opponents (which can sometimes
backfire, as it can make the opponent angry and more determined), I am actually talking about using this method purely to
strengthen your own performance - as this uses your great shots to help to create a stronger "winning feeling" within your
mind and body - which helps to deliver a stronger performance from you as the match wears on.
Remember, no-one even needs to know that you are doing this - this is purely
something that you quietly do, and say, to yourself - in order to strengthen your winning mood.
4. Everyone gets nervousness, angry or frustration at times - even the
champions. The key is to use it positively by channeling these emotions into your shots rather than using them for self-sabotage
purposes, such as verbal self abuse, racket-throwing etc.
This is also along the lines of "not showing any weakness" to your opponent
- and something the elite champions seem to have over their lesser opponents - emotional control. This is not
to say they don't get angry, frustrated or down - they do - it's just that they know what to do with these feelings, when
So whenever you are feeling negative, nervous or frustrated in any way,
channel this valuable emotion into your shots, rather than using it for self-destruction - leave that to your opponents instead!
Emotional energy is very powerful and champions always seem to know how to use it - the right way.
So that's it - bringing these four principles into your game will make
a huge difference to your results, and will even allow you to win some matches that you might have otherwise lost, because
the "slight edge" they create is often all you need to close out those tight matches. Try it and see!