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During my time as a Tennis Australia Psychologist I spent several years working at the Brisbane Academy with a group of about 15 players. One of those players was Ash Barty. Here are the 6 key reasons I believe she is now a Champion on and off the court…
1.) Competitiveness: Ash is super competitive. From a very early age she was always looking to compete in whatever she did. Whether it be playing table tennis, to kicking the footy with the other players in the group.
2.) Physical Talent: I still remember the 1st time I saw Ash play when she must have been about 9 years old. I walked into the tournament and saw one point where this tiny girl hit a great kick serve and followed it with amazing feel during the rally. I can still remember the amazement of that moment today...
3.) Stubbornness: Ash has always wanted...
What an incredible rollercoaster that was!
A perfect example of why tennis is the ultimate sporting mental test. Tough conditions…Massive momentum shifts…And ultimately an incredibly brave effort from Ash Barty to make her 1stGrand Slam final.
There’s a lot we can learn from such a great battle. Because tennis is so challenging it never has been and never will be about perfection. Instead it will always be about dealing with frequent challenges just a little better than the person down the other end. And beneath massive momentum swings that are so common in matches usually lies the same predictable psychological processes for all players who are willing to put it on the line as these 2 young ladies did.
Here’s my most important takeaways:
1.) Compete Your Hardest When Your Opponent Is Ahead, As This Is When It's Most Likely They'll Play Their Worst
The moment that a player realises they are in reach of winning a set or match, but have...
What an epic...
5hr and 9min of great competing...Ups and downs...Twists and turns...And finally an incredible chip passing shot by the Grand Slam specialist Wawrinka to pronounce his return as a serious Slam threat.
Its a shame there had to be a loser in this one. But above all, simply seeing the last point, hearing the crowd's roar, and feeling the emotion of the embrace that followed tells us all we need to about why tennis is the greatest game of all...And why we love it so much :-)
It also reminds us of the key performance values that we should connect with before we step onto the court for practice or matches...Let's listen to how Wawrinka and Tsitsipas described what they valued most when reflecting on the match:
On Striving to Win:
Wawrinka: "That's the reason why I still play tennis, and that's the reason why I'm practising every day, to try to win big matches like this."
Tsitsipas: "We both struggled, we both went beyond our limits, we both experienced luck...
We can take many lessons from the amazing run that Naomi Osaka is currently on in the Slams. But there is one that stands out more than any other for me...
Did you see that Naomi Osaka lost her Madrid Masters match after leading 5-3 40-15 in the 3rd?
Thats right, even the world number 1 can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory :-)
Whats more, she only won 2 more points for the rest of the match...
And in my latest 'Mental Toughness Made Simple' video I reflect on the crucial lesson we can learn from Osaka's experience. It is, in my opinion, the most important factor in what separates the winners from the losers on any given day.
Check it out by clicking below:
One of the biggest competitive challenges that a player can face is the Yips. I had a pretty bad serve but to make things worse I went through a period of my career whenI had the yips on my 2nd serve. I still remember the dread I felt stepping up to the line not knowing where it was going to go. Luckily if I hit my partner in the back of the head it was slow enough that it wouldn't hurt very much :-)
While I haven't found a single cure for the yips, there are 6 strategies that tend to help players reduce the effect, and sometimes beat the yips...Some of these also helped me cure my yips and get back my ordinarily bad serving over time :-)
Have a great week :-)
One of the biggest challenges in tennis is effectively committing to processes that increase the chance of success throughout matches rather than getting caught up in the outcome...
In this week's video I'm going to walk you through how I promote player's ability to do this more effectively :-) And if you'd like to access the Competitor's Score Worksheet that I use in this video you can do so here...
Have a great week :-)
Today I want to focus on a crucial lesson we can take from what were in my opinion the 5 most important points of Fabio Fognini’s career last week in Monte Carlo. Now you might be thinking these points occurred during his amazing win against Nadal but they didn't.... Take a look at the video to find out :-)
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At it's core our mental toughness requires simply bringing our attention into the present at the start of a rally or point and choosing to commit to a helpful process (e.g., a technical cue like 'stay low', or a strategy such as 'rally deep and attack the short ball') during the rally or point.
In this way the formula for mental toughness is Present Moment Attention + Helpful Committed Action = Mental Toughness
The Usefulness of Key Words...
And to increase the chance that we actually commit to helpful actions that increase the chance of success on each new point, it's a great idea to use a key word or words that remind us of the process that we're going to commit to.
To get the idea check out the video above where Bianca Andreescu reflects on her use of key words in committing to helpful actions, and Mentally Tough Tennis consultant Pat Flynn gives us the idea of how to use key words in our between point routine.
We've also put together a Worksheet...
1.) Practice Improving Attention Skills…
The 1stbarrier to mental toughness is when our concentration lapses.
Players can lose concentration during matches when they get distracted by external causes (e.g., sounds), or also when their naturally wandering minds start thinking about things not to do with the match.
It’s quite amazing that although being able to aim and maintain attention on a helpful performance target is such a foundational requirement to successful performance…
And although we are regularly told to “Pay attention” during our developmental years, we rarely actually formally practice it.
This is a little like expecting someone to get fit without doing fitness training!
Here is a super simple way that players can develop attention skills during on-court sessions:
Step 1.) Make a rule that requires at least 5 seconds break between each rally.
Step 2.) Then during the break between each rally players should perform a...
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