I've been playing tennis for about three years now and I'm very disappointed in how I play. I'm inconsistent, I frame the ball quite often, I can't aim very well, my serve is terrible, and the ball goes long most of the time if I'm not careful. I've had a history of almost constant losing, even to players who I know I am much better than. In the middle of matches I get bad because I start thinking about all of this, and I just don't know how to get better. It's very frustrating, and even playing almost every day for 3-4 hours after school isn't making my improve. I'm scared that despite my hard work, despite getting lessons every weekend, I'm just going to continue to have a lackluster performance. I just don't know what to do! Any help from anyone who suffers from this problem would be great. I just want to actually be competitive this year. I want to win. Thanks in advance.
We all go through this. I had a period during my high school years where I felt the same way and it took quite a while to get out of that mental slump. I think it took me about 4 months to finally get back thinking positively and it took a lot of hard work.
While your coach or peers could try to give you a mental boost, in my opinion, that doesn't really ever solve the problem. The best way to solve this issue, is to start winning matches, especially tight ones, and get a lot of confidence. In my experience, the best way to do this, is to REALLY work on your fitness. This way, you can rely on your fitness to get through matches even when you don't feel that confident hitting particular shots at certain times. When I mean working on your fitness, I mean you should be running quick miles easily without getting tired, be lifting decent weights, etc.
My private coach, along with nearly all other coaches I have met, says tennis is 80-90% mental, and it truly is. After you start winning some matches, your tennis should start falling into place, and when you finally get over that mental hurdle, you'll be a lot better for it. Just remember, many of the players who are playing will also be feeling like this, you DEFINITELY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE. Even top players both in the juniors and pros have doubts about their games from time to time, which is why players who succeed are not necessarily the most talented, but are rather the strongest mentally.
I mean look at Nadal from July of last year to March or so of this year. He couldn't win a single big match to save his life and he was number 2 on the ATP tour!