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A Great Learning Lesson From Jenny Brady...

 

 

 

I was interested to watch Jenny Brady's Australian Open semi-final victory press conference to see how she described winning such a tight match...

It was super refreshing to see her describe trying to finish the match so honestly. 

The intensity of the nerves...

Her wandering mind which wanted to focus on the outcome...

The doubts...

The difficult physical sensations...

Far to often we live in fantasy land when it comes to our expectations of being able to control difficult emotions and unhelpful thoughts during matches.

This is not reality!

It's much more effective to recognise and normalise the fact that our human mind means that in competition, difficult thoughts and feelings will show up frequently and trying to reduce or avoid them typically won't work, especially when we most want to.

And so it was for Brady when she was trying to make her first Grand Slam final.

The most important lesson- she had all these difficult internal experiences and won...this is...

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Djokovic vs Medvedev: Some Thoughts on Medvedev's Mental Fold

 

 

Novak Djokovic is still the undisputed king of the Australian Open and with each new Slam victory the likelihood that he will end his career as the all time male grand slam leader becomes more likely.

And for Daniil Medvedev what seemed like a possible changing of the guard yesterday now appears like more of the same old story- the young guns still have quite a ways to go.

In Medvedev's case, the capacity to cope with the greatest challenge took a significant hit as he mentally folded from about the middle of the match.

Here are my 3 main mental reflections from the match...

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Nadal vs Tsitsipas and Why We SHOULDN'T Aim for the Zone...

 

 

 

With has comeback for the ages Tsitsipas became only the 2nd player to come back from 2 sets down to win against Nadal at a Slam...

A truly incredible effort! 

First to hang on when in terrible trouble against a surging Nadal...And then himself achieving a mind boggling level throughout the 2nd half of the match...

Having listened to Tsitsipas's post-match press conference, I have 2 important reflections.

You can hear my thoughts here...

 

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The Most Powerful, Predictable Way to Improve Junior Player Results

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Given that registration for our Parenting Healthy Mental Toughness Project closes in less than 3 days today I want to be very straight forward with you.

I can tell you with GREAT certainty that if you want  your mentally weaker players to win more matches, the most powerful, predictable way to do that is to help parents of those kids do a better job of what I call the 3 C's: Choice, Competence, and Care.

Here's how I know this...

About 10 years ago as part of my PhD I worked with a group of tennis parents with the goal of improving their parenting communications to align with this style.

As part of this the parents' kids filled in a questionnaire called the Sport Climate Questionnaire (SCQ) which asks kids to consider the following 15 statements about their tennis participation:

1.) I feel that my mum and dad provide me with choices and options

2.) I feel understood by my mum and dad

3.) I am able to be open with my mum and dad while engaged in tennis

4.) My...

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When Pain Becomes Shame: The Perils of Parent Conditional Regard

 

 

One of the most difficult things to go through as a tennis parent is to watch your child develop ‘avoidance focused coping defenses’. This occurs when players develop competitive adaptations such as excuses, tanking, perfectionism, and anger explosions as an unconscious way of reducing the stress of competition.

While any player can develop these responses to reduce the normal fears that are a part of competing, it’s important to be aware as a parent that it's MUCH more likely that children will develop these adaptations when a child’s fear of failure has become exaggerated due to what can be called ‘parent conditional regard’.

The detrimental effects of parent conditional regard on children’s development are well researched and highly predictable…

Parent Conditional Regard and the Shame Emotion…

Parent conditional regard occurs when parents accidentally communicate love conditionally by tying...

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The Most Common Obstacle to Successful Tennis Parenting Communications

 

 

For most parents, watching children compete in tennis is an extremely emotional experience.

But while all parents can experience significant challenges, some face increased vulnerabilities.

The Biggest Obstacle...

Susceptibility to tennis parenting challenges above and beyond the normal emotional challenges is most linked to a parent’s own learning history in performance domains.

Just like parents powerfully influence their own children’s development through tennis, every parent has a lifetime of experiences that have invisibly contributed to their own development.

These past experiences shape how parents perceive their child’s tennis.

For Example...

If a parent’s own parents communicated disapproval or conditional love to him in performance domains when he was a child, the sense of disapproval that he felt then will likely later be evoked when he watches his own child perform poorly in tennis.

Through this process (sometimes called...

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What Parents Can Learn From Federer's Mental Attributes...

 

 

With the announcement that Roger Federer will make his return to play in Doha next month, it got me reflecting on his greatest career mental traits, and what parents can learn from this…

I believe he has 3 that stand out:

1.) Resilience

If 1 statistic characterizes Federer's resilience, it is this…

He has come back from 2 sets down 10 times, this is equal all-time record shared with Aron Krickstein and Boris Becker.

An amazing achievement…

2.) Performing his Best Under Pressure

Federer has always been clutch...but just how clutch even surprised me.

To consider this I reviewed the open era records of some of the world’s best male players in Grand Slam sets that went past 5-5…

And the results?

Federer, along with Raphael Nadal, hold clearly the best career winning % in close Grand Slam sets at 70%...

Djokovic wins 66%...

And the next best I found was Sampras at 63%...

3.) Consistency/Longevity

This one is pretty obvious....

Federer has...

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The 4 Crucial Elements to Successfully Supporting Tennis Parents...

 

 

A great passion of mine throughout my career as a sport psychologist has been supporting parents on the tennis parenting journey.

I quickly formed the opinion early in my career that tennis parents in the organisations that I worked were having more influence on player mental toughness outcomes than coaches.

I also learned that National Organisations, the bodies that should be prioritised supporting parents throughout the tennis parenting journey, do a terrible job in this area.

This contributes to i.) consistent parent and coach overwhelm and helplessness, and ii.) poor competitive habits and common issues with well-being for players.

And while coaches generally do their best to support tennis parents in this challenging role, we typically miss some vital elements in successfully assisting parents...

Why do efforts to support parents often fail?

The reason that efforts to support tennis parents often aren't adequate is that those looking to help simply give parents...

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Set Expectations LOWER to Improve Mental Toughness...

 

 

 

Invest 5min of your day right now in watching this video if you want to become a better coach, tennis parent, or player....

Anthony

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3 Important Lessons We Can Learn From Thiem 'Getting Tight'

 

 

The last couple of months have been a little bit of a whirlwind for me having my first child…Kudos to all or you who are also parents- it didn't look as challenging as I'm finding it from the sidelines :-)

But with the fog clearing I had the chance to watch some of the ATP Finals during the week which was great J

And one moment stood out from a mental perspective…

When Dominic Thiem was trying to finish Novak Djokovic in the 2nd set tiebreak despite being one of the most relentlessly aggressive  players on the tour, he didn’t commit to this gamestyle in that moment. Instead he played more conservatively and even defensively on a few points.

This cost him the set after having 5 match points….

He did amazingly well, however, in recommitting to aggression when down in the 3rd set breaker, to reel off an incredible run of points to get the win.

When asked whether his win was more of a mental battle than a physical battle...

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