Mental Skills to Improve On-Court Behavior in Tennis

Helping Tennis Players Who Get Frustrated and Tank

In “Sports Psychology Sessions with Doc,” Dr. Patrick Cohn answers a question from a sports parent who doesn’t know what to do with her 10 year old tennis player when he gets upset on the tennis court.

Visit Sports Psychology for Athletes at and click on contact us to submit your mental game question for Dr. Cohn to answer in his mental game videocast or podcast.

Do you have a young tennis player that tends to either give up, tank or get really upset emotionally because they’re playing a tough opponent or losing?

Here’s the topic Dr. Patrick Cohn discusses this week:

How can you help your young tennis player stay composed on the tennis court?

Suzy wrote in and said:

“My 10 year old son plays tennis four times a week at his club. However, when he’s in a tournament, a bad shot, tough opponent and a double fault will literally have him crying his way through the match.He shouts at himself and his negativity is unbearable to watch as a parent. I need help, I don’t know how to help him anymore.”

This is the #1 complaint that we get from sports parents about how kids tend to act out, check out, tank, get emotionally upset and frustrated and then their performance snowballs out of control because they can’t regain emotional control.

One of the worst things you can do as a parent is bring attention to their frustration and punish them for it.


They only learn that the behavior is wrong but not the skills to improve that behavior.

What can you do as a sports parent to give them the skills to stay composed?

Watch the video to see what mental game tips Dr. Cohn gives to sports parents to help their young athletes deal with their frustration.

YouTube video
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What are our students saying?

“Dr. Cohn did a great job working with my son Joe on his mental skills for tennis. He taught him the mental skills and discipline necessary to move to the next level. Thanks Doc!”
~Mike Withers, Joe Withers Father

“Thank you for all the knowledge, tools, material, and guidance you have given me throughout the MGCP course. It was truly a great experience. I am looking forward to integrating your mental training system to students at the club, as well as to athletes that truly are committed, and strive towards reaching their peak performance.”
~Tim Whitehead, Tennis Coach

“On behalf of all of our coaches who attended the 2004 ITA Coaches Convention, I would like to thank you for serving as a featured clinician. I know that the coaches felt it was both enjoyable and informative. We greatly appreciate your taking the time to prepare and present such an outstanding clinic for the benefit of our coaches.”
~Nancy Breo, ITA Convention

“Maggie had such a great weekend. As always, after she works with you she just seems more grounded and focused. She’s less likely to look around and get distracted during her match. She’s more focused on one point at a time. Also, as a parent, I’ve learned to encourage her process goals and not outcomes. Consequently, she played well and won her first doubles match, upsetting a seeded team in a really really close match!”
~Katherine Johnson Cannata, Maggie’s mother

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