On the relationship between thoughts and emotions
It has been almost two decades since my last appearance as a coach at a Grand Slam. Nowadays, I'm a lot more involved in the "train to train" and "train to compete" stages of players' development. Since I do believe that priorities for developing the tennis player go in the order of technical, strategic, physical, and then mental based on the maturation process of an individual, I have been slightly ignoring new research in the last two facets of the sequence as mentioned above. The importance of physicality becomes evident in the later, ages 16 and older, stages of a tennis player's development, while the real benefits of possessing a mental edge can be seen after, or at least close to, the teenage brain gets fully developed ( the relationship between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making centers are still in its "infancy" until late teens). Needless to say, the four facets of the game are interdependent and should be developed at all stages of the player's development, with the difference being emphasis related to a player's age/skill/physicality/emotional maturity, etc.
This short post is a product of my desire to better explain to one of my students the mechanism of controlling our emotions through actually controlling our thoughts. This is an excellent and recent article on how the substance and quality of self-talk during matches affect the intensity of emotions experienced. I hope you enjoy it!