ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mastering the inner game of tennis through managing the competency cycle

Updated on June 23, 2013

Becoming competent at tennis - the inner game of tennis

When you start to consciously improve your game of tennis, you will find that your competency with any tennis shot will improve in a predictable way. Understanding this competency cycle, can help you persist and improve how you play both the inner game of tennis and the outer game.

Sports coaches have come to recognize that competency develops through four recognized stages. Understanding the stages of the competency cycle is a key aspect of mastering the inner game of tennis. It will also help you persist with your efforts to improve your tennis strokes. The four stages are discussed in the modules below.

Download my FREE e-Book lo learn how to develop your tennis mind strategy:

Playing The Inner Game of Tennis

Image Credit: Aggie Women's Tennis - 46 by StuSeeker on Flickr

Learn the techniques to build your mind game. Put these strategies into practice to develop your inner game of tennis. Enjoy your tennis more and start winning more often.

Download the FREE e-Book here:

Playing The Inner Game of Tennis

Stage 1: Unconscious incompetence

Before you start to improve a tennis stroke, you are often unconscious of what you are doing wrong. It may have to do with your swing, your stance, your grip or the way you address the tennis ball.

In this stage, you are not conscious of your specific incompetence though you may experience a sense of unease or dissatisfaction with the results of your effort. This dissatisfaction leads to the desire to improve the way you play tennis.

Stage 2: Conscious incompetence

Through your reading, coaching or observation, you have now become aware of what you are doing wrong. You may have been watching a slow motion video on YouTube and seen how Federer plays his backhand. You have identified an area for improvement, e.g. improving the way you grip the racquet to complete a backhand stroke.

You are now consciously incompetent, you are aware of your specific incompetence in relation to gripping the racquet for a backhand. You start to change your grip in practice and it feels very uncomfortable and you are not successful initially. One of the challenges at this stage is to unlearn established, unconscious habits.

It is important to persist despite the discomfort and frustration. This is where so many people drop out, give up and go back to their old way of doing things.

Stage 3: Conscious competence

If you persist with practising a better way (e.g. improving the way you grip your racquet for a backhand shot), you will start to feel comfortable with the new grip. You will also start to be more successful with your backhand shots.

The improvement in your backhand gives you positive reinforcement to keep up your practice.

You still have to make a conscious effort but you are acquiring the necessary competence, you are becoming consciously competent.

Stage 4: Unconscious competence

This is the stage where the new backhand grip becomes a part of your normal play, you do not have to think about it as you just do it naturally. It requires no conscious effort.

The old saying, 'practice makes perfect' is emphasizing this stage of achievement. If you persist with conscious practice, eventually you will overcome old habits and replace them with new ones that are equally unconscious.

If you reflect on your game as you play tennis you will notice that there are many things that you do on a tennis court that represent unconscious competence, things that you do naturally or spontaneously, without conscious thought. These are the micro-skills you have built up over time.

As you progressively build from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence across a range of tennis strokes, you are building your inner strength and inner armor. You are developing your ability to win the inner game of tennis.

Reader Views

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ronpass lm profile imageAUTHOR

      ronpass lm 

      9 years ago

      Feel free to leave your views and experiences of mastering new tennis strokes or developing your tennis mind game.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)