3 Reasons Tennis Is Not A Game Of Perfect: Nishikori VS Murray

 

 

1.) We All Have Naturally Wandering Minds

It is hard for even the best players to continually commit actions to helpful process point after point because we all have a mind that is easily distracted…

And it looked today like both players were suffering frequent concentration lapses as the match ebbed and flowed one way then the other…

To help players improve skill in being able to aim and maintain attention on helpful processes throughout matches is simple to understand, but as we saw in today’s match, hard to do…

We simply get players to practice paying attention to present moment targets such as sounds, or physical sensations while stretching for as long as possible, while also encouraging them to recognize when they notice their attention has wandered, and return to the chosen target…

This improves attentional skill like fitness training strengthens muscles…

2.) Players Sometimes Get Caught Up in Nerves When Trying To Finish a Match

In today’s match, when Nishikori realized that the finish line was in sight when serving as 4-3 40-0 in the 5thset he suddenly tightened…2 quick errors were followed by a missed sitter forehand volley and in no time at all Murray was back in front…

But to Nishikori’s huge credit he recovered from the choke and with some uncharacteristic misses from Murray in the last 2 games Nishikori completed the job…

There are 4 key things we want to remember when trying to help players with choking…

 a.) Normalize It…

We want to let the player know that choking is common and natural so they don’t overreact to the experience.

b.) Explain Your Admiration...

It's vital to give players an understanding that although choking isn't ideal, they're actually giving themself a much better chance of winning than if they were to give up, explode, or make excuses, and that by being able to face fear takes strength of character.

c.) Try To Become Unhooked…

The trick here is that rather than trying to reduce the nerves (which doesn’t work very well), it usually works better to try to ‘unhook’ from them

By simply noticing the physical sensations that are a part of nerves before trying to refocus on a helpful process players can become less ‘caught up’ in the nerves…

d.) Don’t Make A Difficult Situation Worse

Usually the choke itself is not fatal…

What kills players is getting caught up in the self-judgement following the choke, rather than getting back on the job ASAP..

The key here, which you can help via points a and b, is to encourage players to return to the job after the choke experience ends which will usually be when players lose the lead.

3.) Players Generally Don’t Accept Difficult Situations

When the 3rd set began and Murray’s early break chance was halted my a malfunctioning sound processor, he naturally felt angry…

The huge majority of us would typically encourage players to try to accept the situation and get on with it…

Unfortunately, this rarely helps as difficult emotions and thoughts about this type of situation are VERY hard to change in the moment…

Instead, what we’re better off doing is encouraging players to accept the difficult thoughts and feelings about the situation and then refocus on a helpful process WHILE they have the difficult internal experiences…

Overall, when a player is not acting mentally tough, the answer will ALWAYS lie in one or more of 5 Keys. If you would you like access to our 5A Key Checklist which summarizes these areas You Can Get It Here...

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