A powerful tool and equally powerful motivator, The Power of Song is often under-utilised and yet the benefits by far outweigh the decision to not integrate song into practice and/or training sessions for its sheer advantages. Not convinced? Give me a minute, or two. Each and every time the radio comes on, or you find your favourite tune of the hour/day/week on Spotify, YouTube to Apple Music and/or all those between, there’s a feeling that takes over. There’s an underlying reason of ‘why’ that song is your favourite today and/or was your favourite song last week. And how that song makes you feel, good and/or bad and the array of emotions in between, can be channelled into whatever it is you’re doing at that given moment as it becomes akin to a memory etched in time as you’re able to recall those ‘feelings’ for those 3-4 minutes if you’re lucky enough for the song to play until its end.
Recall that most of our episodes on Beyond Top 10 Tennis take the time to emphasise the humanised approach — the applicability of the concept/theme and how it relates to individuals alike, not just tennis players. On the same merit, it’s so important to remember that tennis players are all human — all individuals which also means, music has meaning to them, too and feelings are individual. By tapping into this network of emotions can become and lead to an incredibly powerful habitual state of play. Now you may ask, how? This is where there is ample fun to be had!
What’s your favourite on-beat tune? A song that raises you up and you’re instantly taken through a wild ride of positive emotions? You know the ones, where you’re just compelled and can’t hold back from belting out those lyrics? Those ones!
And then you have the songs that you’re able to zone into and switch out any outside noise. Call them your gym beats to your running playlist and/or of similar activities. The ones that make you push a little harder and go that little further and whisper (rather loudly in your ear) don’t you dare give up — one more set, one more mile, just ONE more! Now let’s turn the table. When used intentionally during training and/or practice The Power of Song has a myriad of benefits. One of such is conditioning the player/athlete to zone into their performance and rely on their autonomous nature — receiving no external feedback from their coach and/or others, explicitly relying on their own intrinsic mechanisms. This is an exceptional tool for coaches to then view at what level this state of autonomy has reached and if it reflects the desired state of play.
When a player/athlete is able to tune out with the added distraction of song — albeit in a conducive way, it also shows little glimpses into their game that may otherwise be overshadowed to overlooked and allows a more refined lens to see what aspects of their game need/s further addressing. Of course, this is centred at the more developed (elite) player as the developing (developmental) player will have a number of areas which is to be expected. But The Power of Song adds that layer of distraction in a positive light and can help condition players to the expected distractions at the elite level of play and how to handle their own internal noise to in turn block out and/or alter their perception of the environment i.e. rowdy crowds to someone talking on their phone on the sideline.
The more ‘fun’ aspect of The Power of Song at all levels of play is the aforementioned feeling to tap into and to take that performance to a new level. Remember that song that pushes you one more mile or for just one more? Now we’re on the tennis court and this song — choose what works for you as everyone is going to be different; it takes you to a place of hyper focus and it’s a mix of positive emotions and amps your performance up a level — an intrinsic motivator. We’re going to use this song as a point of recall to associate an optimal performance metric with this song. And by conditioning this optimal performance metric with this song these are lyrics and/or beats that afford a point of recall to move your level of performance to that next level — to that next peak performance cycle. Of course, this song is to be used intermittently but to serve as a reminder to a memory of the zone you’re able to switch into when in need.
And this is just one song and one example.
By using The Power of Song on a rolling basis (think weekly) and conditioning performances around a specific song — one that has meaning to you, allows the player/athlete to diversify their performance whilst also working on levels of autonomy to limiting distractions. And it takes time. But it also serves as an alternative motivator to be leveraged to mix up a player’s conditioning and also offers an easy point of recall as a reminder i.e. in their notes on change of ends to remember the beats/lyrics and/or to play that song prior to their match to get the player in the ‘zone’ of those optimal performance outcomes. Each player will be different, however, so it’s incredibly important to ensure the player/athlete chooses what works best for them and then to integrate The Power of Song steadily to not only aid in performance progressions but also add something a little different and ‘fun’ to the training environment that I can guarantee will have players/athletes coming back for more!
To learn more about The Power of Song: for Tennis Players, head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and head to Episode 54. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTok, Twitter, Threads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.