If you're wondering whether keeping a tennis journal is actually useful or just another trend, welcome to the club: I've been there a few years back!
In fact, at the age of 14 I was asked by my tennis coach to write down my feelings before, during and after every tennis match, as well as my goals and plans.
At the time I thought the feelings part was weird, and a lack of privacy too. Why the heck was I supposed to write down what was going on in my mind?
At first, I even considered lying and just writing some bullshit. I was a bit embarrassed, you know? But then I figured it was too much trouble to fake it, so I just poured all my thoughts on paper and made my coach happy. Tough, but I survived!
Regarding the plans and goals part instead, I immediately liked it. I've always been a strategist, so no wonder I found it fun!
And it turned out to be really helpful too: sometimes I'd find out my impressions during the match were quite far from the reality. Like: I thought my tactic wasn't working as I had the feeling of collecting many winners from my opponent's backhand, when in fact I had just gotten 3 in the whole match. You know? This kind of stuff.
Anyway, if at that time keeping a tennis journal was just something I would do because I had to, now I totally get the point. And indeed, although there's no one asking me to do it, I've made it a habit. Not only. I even took tennis journaling to the next level, by keeping not only a match journal, but also a practice journal!
You think that's a bit extreme? Maybe! But here's the thing: I really really want to improve as fast as possible, and I cannot afford wasting time nor missing opportunities. You know, I'm taking tennis seriously, and I have big long and short-term tennis goals to achieve! So any tool that can speed up the whole process is more than welcome!
Here's why I think tennis journaling is worth a try.
Why should you keep a tennis journal?
Because it helps you:
- SET GOALS, so you always know what to focus on and don't run the risk of just playing 'randomly'.
- EXECUTE PLANS, as you'll step on the court with clear objectives and strategy in mind.
- REFLECT on why things went the way they did, so you can do better next time.
Said differently, tennis journaling is a must if you want to eliminate the chance of feeling stuck in your progress or clueless about your game, and keep moving forward day by day. Which I bet is exactly what you want!
No idea where to start? Don't you worry, I've got you covered! Just keep reading.
How to tennis journal
There's no right or wrong way to do it. As long as you write down your goals, plans and insights, you don't need anything fancy. If you're more traditional, pen and paper are more than enough! Otherwise, just open the notes on your phone and type your thoughts there, it's fine too!
No matter the modality you choose, what's important is that you actually decide what you're gonna focus on in advance, commit to it and take note of how the practice or match went afterwards.
The questions you wanna ask yourself while journaling clearly vary depending on the type of tennis journal you're writing. In a practice journal you'll focus on your game solely, while in a match journal on your opponent's too. What a surprise, eh?!
For example, the questions you may want to answer in a practice journal might include:
- What are my goals?
- What aspect of my game do I want to focus on?
- How did the practice go? How was my attitude? And my energy?
Instead, in a match journal the questions may be something like:
- What are my opponent's strengths? And weaknesses?
- What's my plan? How am I gonna play?
- How did I win / lose?
- What should I keep in mind for next time?
Again, these are just examples to give you an idea and get you started! But then, it's up to you and your imagination! Or, if you're like me and this kind of stuff brings out the tidiest and most methodical side of you, then just find some templates somewhere, print lots of them and voilà, you'll have all your thoughts in perfect order in no time!
Personally, I've been using the free templates offered by Functional Tennis for a while now, and to be honest I would never go back to the 'free-style' way. Way too much trouble! Instead, having a pre-defined framework to follow makes it a lot easier!
So it really comes down to your tastes and personality. If you're a creative kind of person and think you'd feel limited by a fixed framework, go ahead and splash all your thoughts and observations on a paper in whatever form you like. Otherwise, if the idea of 'tennis journaling made easy' is more like you, then definitely go for the templates. Just know both ways will work, if you do it consistently of course!
But now I want to know about your tennis journal experience!
Do you also keep a tennis journal? Or it's the first time you hear about it? Let me know in the comment, I'm curious!
If you do, what type of tennis journal do you keep? A practice journal? A match journal? Or both? And why did you start in the first place? Was it your idea? Or your coach's? What were your first thoughts?
If not, why not? Is there something that's stopping you? Or you just think it's not worth the effort?
Hope you enjoyed this topic, and you'll give tennis journaling a try if you haven't yet! It's not as weird as I first thought, trust me! If so, leave me a clap (or two) so I know you did ;)
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