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Do Former Successful Pro Players Make Better Coaches?

 

 

In watching Rafa and Roger put on their coaching hats during the Laver Cup, it made me reflect on the age old debate. Do former successful pros make better coaches?

I commonly hear former professional players supporting the theory that a successful career at the top level is required to transform into a successful coach. But of course, in the corridors those who have not played at the highest level argue that having been a great athlete may in fact hinder coaching effectiveness.

So who is right?

I would say to a degree neither. There are obvious advantages in having been a great player but there may also be some potential drawbacks. Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin.

Advantages of Former Successful Professional Players Becoming Coaches

Credibility…

The first and most obvious advantage, as we saw with Roger and Rafa, is that former successful players have instant credibility regarding what they say. Players will be more likely to listen and...

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Reflections on Federer's Coaching Interaction with Fognini...

 

 

A huge thank you to Dan Kiernan and Soto Academy in Spain for allowing us to share this video from our coach professional development workshop last night. We had a great discussion regarding Roger Federer's coaching advice for Fabio Fognini and why part of Federer's advice was likey not helpful. Particularly when he said "If he hits a good forehand you respect it, ok maybe he was lucky it doesn't matter. believe in the good thing, you cannot be frustrated". I also mention how I advise coaches to approach situations where a player is experiencing difficult unintentional thoughts and feelings during matches... Check out the clip below.

 

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Rafa's Incredible US Open Victory Reminds Us of Why We Love Tennis...

 

 

When I was a child I fell in love with tennis. I fell in love with the challenge... I fell in love with the fun... I fell in love with the competing...I fell in love with the camaraderie and much more. To this day all I need to do is picture in my mind walking into the outback tennis centres where I played most of my junior tournaments to trigger great joy.

For those of us who love tennis, watching the men's US Open final was a great reminder of why that is...Watching Rafa resist Medvedev's incredible fightback, like all great Grand Slam battles, shows us that ultimately it is the greatest sporting test. No other sport tests the physical, technical, tactical, and mental elements so completely.  

And this match proved to be the ultimate mental test. The physical demands, the pressure, trying to hang on when behind, trying to finish when in front, , the doubts, the wandering mind, the frustrations...It had it all :-)

This match was also a reminder that we...

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The 5 Mental Toughness Take Aways from Bianca Andreescu's Rapid Rise to the Top...

 

 

 

What an incredible rise to becoming the US Open champion it's been for Bianca Andreescu. At the start of this year she was ranked 178 in the world. She has spent several months out of the game with injury. Yet when it came to her biggest test, playing perhaps the game's greatest ever player in her own backyard, she was ready. And when Serena came storming back to set the crowd alight, despite doubts, despite nerves, Andreescu stood firm to finish the match in dominant style.

Andreescu again talked about how she prepares to respond best to the doubts and nerves that she faced in the final, as well as the importance of this type of training to her development as a player and competitor. 

When asked about whether her mental skill was born or learned she said: "I was never as composed as I am now, or even a year ago, so (in addition to my meditation and visualisation training) I started seeking advice from other people...and I think that's been really helping me even...

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Belinda Bencic's Common Match Reflection Mistake...

 

 

What common match reflection mistake did Belinda Bencic make after her semi-final?

Check out my thoughts below as its very likely you're making this mistake with your players/child as well...

Cheers,

Anthony

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The Crucial Strategy of Normalising Nervous Feelings

 

 

Matteo Berrettini spoke frequently about how nervous he was feeling during his US Open Quarter Final match...If you are a coach or parent its important to reflect on how you talk to you players/child about nerves? What do you recommend they do if/when nervous feelings show up?`

At Mentally Tough Tennis we recommend that you make it your highest priority to encourage your players develop the skills that allow them to be more accepting of difficult internal experiences like nerves and frustration. One great way to do this is to normalise these feelings, as opposed to encouraging your players to try to control difficult emotions (which tends to lead to not only normal levels of difficult feelings during challenging situations, but additionally worry or judgement about being nervous or frustrated).

This is a crucial shift from traditional sport psychology advice and, given Berrettini's reflections, it's obvious that his coaching/support team have done a terrific job...

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In my experience the simplest way to help players win more matches quickly is to focus on a subtle but vital change in the way that almost all coaches and parents communicate around the experience of 'negative thinking' during matches... Check out my latest 'Mental Toughness Made Simple video to see how to make this shift...

PACT Method Quick Guide… 

If you’d like to discover the method that we at Mentally Tough Tennis use with significant success to help players respond better to mental challenges so they can better apply their helpful strategy, check out our PACT Method Quick Guide to understanding and improving mental toughness. You can get it here :-)

Have a great week,

Anthony


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Why the Importance of Strategy is Often Overrated...

 

 

Two players have similar physical/technical skills...On a 1-10 Helpfulness Scale Player A has a strategy of 7 but is only a 3 on the ability to apply the strategy when faced with mental challenges, while Player B has a strategy of 3 but is a 7 on the ability to apply the strategy when face with mental challenges. If they play 10 times, how many times do you think each player would win?

I think player B wins nearly every time. The reason?

When players compete they are frequently faced with very challenging mental experiences (nerves, frustration, outcome thoughts, etc). What tends to happen for most players at all levels of the game is that very quickly they begin to act based on these difficult internal experiences. At this point how good one’s strategy is becomes largely irrelevant because they can’t apply it when ‘caught up’ in the unintentional difficult match related mental challenges...And because nearly every circumstance throughout...

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The 2019 Mens Wimbledon Final: History Repeats in Federer Heartbreaker...

 

 

 

It goes without saying that this was one of the greatest mental battles in tennis history.

So much amazing tennis...

So many swings…

So many roundabouts…

So much pressure…

And ultimately once again the great game of tennis was able to dig to the core of the matter and reward the player who believed most that they were the better player (as painful as that is for Federer fan like me)…

For Djokovic this deep belief has developed over many years. Twice before he has come from 2 match points down to beat Federer at the US Open. In the 2014 Wimbledon final Djokovic won after Federer had a break point early in the 5th set. In the 2015 Wimbledon final, Federer converted 1 of 7 break chances, whereas Djokovic converted 4 of 10 to win a tight affair. And in the 2015 US Open final with the match tied at a set all Federer had 2 break points when leading 3-4 in the 3rd set.

All in all, Djokovic has been steadily establishing his...

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It looked like Alexander Zverev was ready to become a real Grand Slam contender at the end of 2018 when he won the Year End ATP Finals. But unfortunately things haven't turned out that way this year and yesterday was another step in the wrong direction with him reporting that his confidence is at an all-time low. In this 'Mental Toughness Made Simple' video I discuss what confidence is and how best to develop it. Have a great day :-)

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