‘I had to learn how to relax, says Federer. Instead of going through a constant emotional rollercoaster, I had to stay calm. Play one point at a time. Concentrate on the ball. Since I have learned how to do that my career has taken off amazingly. These days I feel just as relaxed on court as off court. I also enjoy playing much more.’
– Roger Federer after winning his 3rd U.S Open
Roger Federer, perhaps more than any other tennis player, seems to personify relaxed focus with his ability to play effortless tennis – something that can be pointed out to players of all ages to observe and copy.
Relaxation and concentration are interacting mental skills in that each can enhance the other. For example, when you focus appropriately you will be far more likely to remain calm and composed.
Similarly, when you’re relaxed and loose, you will be much better able to focus on what’s important and let go of distractions. In this way relaxation can enhance concentration and concentration can deepen relaxation.
Of course, the reverse of this is also true. When you focus inappropriately right before and during a competition, your stress level and anxiety could go sky-high. When you’re overly nervous in this way, it will then be virtually impossible for you to get control of your concentration and focus appropriately.