August 22, 2012 • Tennis

Jeremy Schlitt: Serving As A Mental Coach

SchlittJeremy Schlitt,Boys Tennis

 

The reality of coaching high school tennis is that by the time your best players attend their first practice, they’ll already have a pretty well developed game.

Even as freshmen, those who form the nucleus of varsity teams during high school already spent years taking lessons, playing club tournaments and competitions and likely attended camps.

That’s why Jeremy Schlitt, varsity boys tennis coach at Arrowhead, focuses his efforts more on coaching the mental aspects of his sport.

“Over the last several years, I’ve realized more and more how much of a mental game tennis is,” says Schlitt, who has been varsity boys coach for four years, and is in his ninth year overall with the program. “That’s what I look for right away as far as practice goes. What’s our mood like today? Are we looking a little sluggish? Do we have a lot of energy? I need to base my approach at practice on that. If they’re a little sluggish, then we’ve got to pick up the pace a little, right at the beginning.”

Coaching the mental game extends to working with players about how to handle things such as momentum swings.

“Your serve gets broken, and all of a sudden the tide can swing,” Schlitt says. “So in practice we want to work on how to handle them mentally. We’ll try to put them in scenarios where they experience that in practice. Then they can take what they learn there into their matches.”

He also stresses how players maintain their momentum and build on it.

“Keeping positive body language is an example, because an opponent can pick up on negative body language and feed off it,” he says. “At practice, I want to coach as I would in a match. I usually won’t say a lot about strokes. It’s more about positioning and maybe picking up on something like closing out a volley. But a big part of it is keep building on where you are, keep building that momentum.”


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