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Tennis is more psychological

Marcin Bieniek provides some thoughts on the psychological side of tennis.

The following are some of the psychological aspects of tennis identified by Gologor (1979)[1].

The scoring system is unique

It is not straightforward, existing on three levels (point, game, set). It permits a player to lose most points in a match and still win. Leads are never as insurmountable in sports where time runs out. Points count double - a point lost by one player is a point scored by the other.

Offence and defence

Offence and defence are closely integrated. It is not as if one team is up or has the ball while the other is defending. It may be your turn to hit the ball, but you may be in an highly defensive position.

The referee

The referee plays a more central role than in most other sports. In tennis, the referee must decide who gets the point, and a relatively large number of shots are hit close to one of five boundary lines on each side of the court.

You are all alone

The error is yours alone. There is no team to camouflage or confuse the issue.


While there are unexpected, smart, or safe plays in other sports, the options are not continually flowing as in tennis, with an instant change in strategy dictated. There are many decisions to make, and there is not enough time to make them. With only the slightest alterations in the process, each point provides you with the opportunity to be risky or conservative.

Choice of opponents is more open

People of differing abilities can play without the better necessarily feeling compromised. When teams are mismatched in other sports, the game is often no fun.

It looks easy

The face of the racquet is big, and the court is big. In basketball and golf, the goal isn't much bigger than the ball, and in baseball, the bat's diameter is not much different from that of the ball.

The game is broken down into many even divisions

You switch serves each game, change sides every two games, switch the direction of serving each point, and get two serves each time. This produces sixteen different sub-games, each subject to various influences. There are numerous other even divisions, such as forehand and backhand, forecourt and backcourt, cross-court and down the line shots. Changing one's game may sometimes be helpful advice, but which game and with what change may not be readily apparent.

Tennis is a quiet game

Much of the play seems to depend on the sound of the racquet meeting the ball, as well as the sight of the ball. And concentration seems invariably intertwined with silence or a constant, muted sound pattern.


  1. GOLOGOR, E. (1979) Psychodynamic Tennis, Morrow Press, London

Page Reference

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  • BIENIEK, M. (2012) Tennis is more psychological [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 20 Polish Juniors and the top 150 players in the world.