Performance Anxiety on the Tennis Court

Donald “Don” Gomsi, an experienced tennis coach, currently serves as an instructor at Carmel Valley Tennis in San Diego, California. In this role, Don Gomsi helps his players to prepare mentally before playing a match and to develop coping techniques to decrease anxiety and improve on-court performance.

Anxiety on the tennis court is damaging to more than just a player’s psyche. It can cause muscles to tense, which negatively impacts coordination and causes more anxiety-producing mistakes. This cycle can be very difficult for a player to escape, as attempting to ignore the anxiety typically only leads the player to focus more on those same feelings.

Although one cannot simply tell oneself to “stay calm,” a number of mental strategies may have that same effect. Guided imagery and meditation can help to quiet the mind and to refocus it on elements unrelated to the anxiety. Players have a number of such techniques from which to choose, one of the most popular being breath control. This simple act of consciously breathing in and out helps not only focus the mind but decrease muscular tension.

Some tennis players also find that positive visualization is helpful. In this technique, the player imagines the result he or she desires from the experience, whether it’s playing with good technique or simply finishing the match without anxiety. This allows the player to reframe negative self-talk and gain control over his or her own thoughts.


Convention Activities of the USPTA San Diego Chapter

Don Gomsi has contributed to the success of tennis in California for many years. Working now at Carmel Valley Tennis in Del Mar, Don Gomsi provides clinics and lessons for rising stars.

Donald Gomsi also is a member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). The USPTA’s San Diego Chapter recently held its third convention in March 2015, during which, a number of seminars covering various topics took place.

One winning coach described the methods he used in team practice. His practices have two objectives: reinforcing basic skills and increasing competitiveness. Sessions are organized into warming up, fundamental skills, competition, fun games, strengthening, and cooling off. Each activity has a goal. For instance, a drill might consist of hitting balls as much as possible.

Another speaker addressed factors affecting players over 40. According to the speaker, over-40 players often have plenty resources to help them improve their games, including extra time and disposable income. They can be motivated to like competitions and workouts and are capable of learning new skills. Pros should concentrate on skills the players still possess, rather than focus on weaknesses.

The Open Era of Tennis

Donald Gomsi has served the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) as a head tester for the last three decades. For nearly three years, Donald Gomsi has also worked as the head tennis professional at Del Mar, California’s Carmel Valley Tennis.

Individuals who are new to the sport of tennis may hear about the open era from time to time, and in fact a number of the sport’s biggest tournaments include the United States Open, the French Open, the Australian Open, and many other open tournaments. The open era began in 1968 when these tournaments and a number of additional top-ranked events opened their doors to amateur players and professionals alike. Prior to the start of the open era, only amateurs were permitted to compete at Wimbledon, for example, while professionals played exclusively on the pro circuit.

At the time, the distinction between professional and amateur players was negligible, as many amateurs received substantial compensation for tournament wins and appearances. Meanwhile, the argument that professional players would overwhelmingly dominate their amateur counterparts failed to hold water, as amateur American Arthur Ashe won the first ever joint tournament. Tennis remains an open sport today, and all modern records and statistics are limited to those recorded after 1968.

United States Tennis Association’s Grants and Funding

Deeply involved in the California tennis community, Donald Gomsi is the head tennis instructor at Carmel Valley Tennis as well as the executive director for the United States Professional Tennis Association’s (USPTA) San Diego division. Donald Gomsi also maintains membership with the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

To support the growth of the tennis community, USTA offers a number of grant and funding opportunities, including diversity-based grants and a facilities-funding program. USTA honors the achievements of the first African-American Grand Slam champion with the Althea Gibson Leadership Award, which recognizes one male player and one female player who are exceptional at leading others on the court and in other ventures. To be eligible for this grant, players must train and compete all year.

USTA also maintains its Public Facility Assistance Program to facilitate the ability of tennis organizations to substantially expand the influence of tennis in their communities. An extremely competitive program, USTA conducts a detailed evaluation of an organization’s program components, financial history, and previous successes.

About Carmel Valley Tennis Camp

Tennis instructor Donald Gomsi joined the team at Carmel Valley Tennis in 2012. Since that time, Don Gomsi has taught in many of the center’s programs while also examining potential teachers as a head tester for the United States Professional Tennis Association’s San Diego Division.

At Carmel Valley Tennis players 10 to 17 years old enjoy a diverse tennis experience that focuses on skill building. Each clinic includes three hours of leveled group instruction, during which time each student learns with four to seven (depending on level) other players with comparable experience. Instructional time focuses on active participation in game-focused drills. Students also have the opportunity to compete each day in team-based matches, thus directly applying what they have learned in classes.

Don Gomsi, along with four other instructors, offer private lessons to compliment the clinics. Instruction encompasses physical training as well as technique, mental toughness , and a positive attitude towards the student’s tennis career. It is this all-encompassing tennis program that has helped hundreds as students on high school and college teams. Don Gomsi has coached at the professional having had students reach the top 100 in the world.