Today’s tutorial is going to lead you through some of the inner workings of your players’ mental states. This has been a very interesting feature for our player community, and we have received countless questions regarding how it functions since the release of Tennis Manager 2022. While we won’t give away every detail (a magician never explains their tricks), we will clarify a lot of the basics of how the mode functions.
How does the Mental State Work?
There are fourmain factors to a player’s mental state: their confidence, motivation ,relaxation, and emotion. Every player is unique, and will react differently to their surroundings and their situation. In certain situations they can have no confidence, be perfectly sure of themselves, or are even far enough in the other direction that they get cocky. They can be really motivated or otherwise, and may need a budge in the right direction. These could affect, for example, their accuracy and power of their shots.
Your player could be relaxed or they could be heavily stressed. Then again, they could be far too relaxed and that too can have its pitfalls. What mood they arein will also determine their quality of play for a match. Stress also has a big effect on the big play moves, and whether your player can pull them off when it really matters.
These four mainfactors (now indicated in the pre-game talk) will change constantly due to a huge number of factors in-built into the game. Some of these will be plainly obvious, and others you will have to work out for yourself. What matters is not necessarily where these factors come from, but instead how you as atennis manager can adapt to these difficulties and keep your player at the top of their mental game.
Finally, note that your Manager attribute "Ability to motivate" now boosts the impact of your talks on your player in TM22.
As you can see on the diagram above, in addition to these 4 psychological factors, there are other triggers that you should know how to use at the right time. It is up to you to analyze the mental state of your player and to bring a relevant response and action to it.
As you can see on the diagram above, you can use different psychological drivers that are hidden behind each sentence of your talk. It is up to you to analyze the mental state of your player and to provide the answer that will impact the right mental gauge, or at least the one you want to target.
Finally, note that mental factors can accumulate and thus generate a particular psychological state. Indeed, when your player has some of his or her gauges at their maximum, he or she may find him or herself "on fire" or even "on cloud nine". It is in fact the addition, or average, of the mental gauges that creates this new status. On the other hand, when several data tend towards the negative, the "cumulative" mental state of the player may lead to a "frustrated", "devastated" or even "down in the dumps" status.
Mental State impacts
Each gauge impacts differently the attributes of the player in match. Positively or negatively...
Confidence mainly affects the concentration, the power of the shots and the tactical clairvoyance of the player...
Motivation acts on the player's willingness to try to play all the balls or rather to let them go, it is also very impactful on the key points of the match.
The stress plays essentially on the service and the shots which require a strong concentration, volley, drop shot, lob, passing shot...
Emotion plays essentially on the reliability ofthe shots, on the key moments and on the capacity of the player to absorb the negative events of the match.
Before a Match
The easiest way to separate the main factors on mental state is before and during match play. Now, in TM22, these 4 psychological indicators are displayed during the pre-game talk, which is an opportunity for you to assess your player's mental state and to try to rebalance the situation, which could prove decisive for the upcoming game.
Before even going into a match, events come into play that affect how your player is feeling. Is this their home crowd, or a hostile audience? Such things will greatly affect their confidence and their ability to withstand stress.
How far into the tournament is the player?Is this their first time getting this far? How old are they? Such environmental and age factors can make it very difficult for young players, in real-life and in the game alike, to do well at a grand slam (Emma Raducanu notwithstanding!).
Do your player and their opponent have ahistory? If there are any head-to-head results, these will weigh emotionally in favour of the advantageous player. How do the combatting players rank against one another? A big difference in ability isn’t just about physical skill, but also about the confidence drain your player could experience if they are facing a player of a much higher calibre.
Outside of all these things, how is your player doing in general? How is his/her morale? If your player is feeling bad for whatever reason (perhaps he/she hasn’t had a holiday in too long), he/she will already go into each match at a natural disadvantage. Taking care of your player mentally can go a long way to seeing them victorious when the real tennis comes into play.
You will have understood that, as in real life, a multitude of different reasons can affect your player and influence his/her potential level of play during his/her next match. As a coach, it is your responsibility to analyze the general mental state of your champion, to identify the possible weaknesses of the moment and, thus, to choose the psychological triggers to be used to find the right words and thus optimize his/her performances.
During a Match
When the match starts, the mental state of yourplayer is indicated right next to his/her avatar. Note that the psychological factor whose gauge is furthest from its average level is displayed compared to the other 3 factors.
As you can see below, it is possible to display the mental state level of each gauge by hovering over the mental data.
Talks during the set
The changes that come into effect during a match are a little different, but equally important. Here, things are likewise mostly out of your control except for the ability to do side-line coaching. Aside from the occasional mid-match interventions (more on that below), you need to have everything sorted before your player steps out on court to have the best chance of their mental state being at its best.
The way the game is going to be handled will obviously have an impact on how your player feels. Is he/she winning easily? Or, on the opposite, does he/she have to struggle to keep his/her serve? Has he/she missed many opportunities to break his/her opponent? All these circumstances will influence the mental state of your player.
The personality traits of the player will also play an important role in the match management. Indeed, the events of the match described above can be either temporized by the player, who will be able to manage his frustration and/or his irritation or, on the contrary, be accentuated and thus potentially prejudice him.
To conclude, I would advise you not to underestimate the interest of these injunctions in live because they can really bring a light mental boost to your player. It's up to you now to use them at the right time depending on the game conditions.
It is possible to ask for a talk at the end of each set in order to put your player in the right direction (at least the one you want 😊). To do this, remember to validate this option in the "talk" tab.
The ins and outs of this end-of-set talk are the same as the pre-game talk, but obviously the most important decision criterion becomes this time the score of the match and the way it is going... Who is winning? Who is losing? Is the match close or not?
A little mental/tactical subtlety: the 2 choices that will have both a mental impact on your player and a tactical one: "stall" versus "show off": it's a bit of a double-edged sword on the impact that the events of the match will have on your player.
The post-match talk is an opportunity to review the overall mental state of your player. Even if this post-match mental report does not have a significant impact on the player, do not underestimate this debriefing, which can have a (slight) effect on the player depending on the quality of your analysis. Indeed, commenting to your rookie that he/she didn't go far from victory when he/she just lost 6/0 6/0 could offend him/her for example!
Get to know your players, analyze the content of the match and know how to adapt your speech and your recommendations accordingly!