WELCOME TO OUR FREE ARTICLES, VIDEOS, AND RESOURCES

Would you like us to send our best free tips, tools, and special offers straight to your inbox? 
YES PLEASE...

SPECIAL REPORT: Control Traps Explained...

 

 

About 15 years ago I was frustrated and helpless regarding what I thought were my own failings in trying to help players achieve ‘ideal performance states’…But after some great mentoring from a psychology supervisor of mine, I underwent a process over several years of discovering that the ‘ideal performance/zone state aim was deeply flawed…As well as discovering the better way to develop mental toughness for tennis.

And I’m going to share with you examples of how to coach this better way in just a minute…

But first I have to explain how the field of sport psychology has failed us with some misinformation about how to help players become mentally tough.

 How Sport Psychology Has Failed Us…

For a long time the field of sport psychology has mistakenly held on to the view that the path to playing mentally tough tennis involves the ongoing search for the zone.

This means that we’ve usually been taught that...

Continue Reading...

How I Discovered A Better Way To Develop Player Mental Toughness…

 

 

In just a minute I’ll tell you about the experiment that led me to discovering the better way to coach mentally tough tennis, but first I’ll give you some important background…

 Early Career Learning…

In 2003/2004, a couple of early coaching failures taught me quickly that I simply didn’t have the coaching skills to handle the competitive challenges that many players face.

And these early coaching experiences fuelled a desire in me to become better skilled in helping players reach their competitive potential.

To do this, I spent a couple of years working for my former sport psychologist Michael Fox (this is Allen Fox’s brother who has been a very successful sport psychologist in Australia). Time spent with Foxy further inspired me to become a sport psychologist myself and although I enjoyed working across different sports, I naturally found myself spending most of my time as a psychologist working in tennis.

During those...

Continue Reading...

What Makes USC’s Peter Smith Such a Great Coach?

 

 

A couple of things compelled me to write this article…First, when coaches find out that I played for Peter Smith when he was at Pepperdine, they often ask me about his coaching qualities. Also, last week I had dinner with Jack Jaede…

Jack is a player who I worked extensively with over several years as a junior and when he finished high school in 2014 he had a tough decision to make…

Tennis Australia coaches believed that Jack should forgo college and turn professional and therefore offered him an incredible scholarship opportunity to train at the Brisbane Academy among top 100 ATP players.

But I believed that there were a couple of colleges that could provide an even better environment to help Jack develop both his personal and tennis qualities, and so I strongly recommended he consider these pathways.

One of these recommendations was Peter Smith and USC.

In the end Jack chose to go to USC, and after talking with him about how happy he is...

Continue Reading...

Developing Emotional Fitness vs Emotional Control...

 

 

 

One of the major ideas I focus on is the importance of helping players develop 'emotional fitness' rather than 'emotional control'...

Understanding the difference between these concepts and increasing skill in helping players develop 'emotional fitness' is usually the easiest and most powerful way that we can better help players develop long-term mental toughness...

So here's a clip of me discussing these ideas during my Tennis Australia Coaches Conference presentation...

Continue Reading...

Seeing Tennis Through Your Child's Eyes...

 

 

Isn’t it amazing how tennis seems a lot easier to play while watching from the sidelines. But it’s just not that easy in the heat of battle. So for your child, whose brain is still developing, it can be incredibly challenging to respond well to match challenges like nerves and frustration under stress. This is true even for world class performers. So if he/she does face difficulties in tennis that are hard for you to understand, it’s important that you begin by trying to see the situation through his/her eyes.

Responding With Empathy

I rarely work with a parent who has anything but the best of intentions for their child. But often in our attempts to help someone we can overlook their experience because we judge the situation from our own point of view.

This can lead to miscommunications...

But by being empathetic to your child’s difficult tennis experiences you successfully join with him/her in seeing the situation through his/her eyes....

Continue Reading...

What Should We Say to Players Pre-Match? (Includes audio example…)

 

 

I often get asked by coaches for advice regarding talking to players pre-match…The pre-match chat has obvious importance as it’s our chance to positively influence players’ chance of committing to actions that both develop their game and increase their chance of success.

While I’ve never had a formal structure to my pre-match chats with players, I decided to review some audio files and discovered that there are 5 elements that I generally include when doing so.

So I’ll briefly summarise these 5 elements and their importance for you in this article...

Then I’ll share with you an audio file of me talking with recent Virginia Tech graduate Andreas Bjerrehus before his 2015 match with Virginia’s Ryan Shane…

## I swear in this recording so please don’t listen if you’d find that offensive…

## A couple of terms that I used during this example will likely be foreign to you as they come from a story that I...

Continue Reading...

3 Ways Brain Science Can Help Player Development...

 

 

Let’s look at 3 examples of how a better understanding of the brain can be applied to promote player development.

The 3 Examples…

1.) Aerobic Exercise Before Practice

Aerobic exercise affects the brain like fertilizer on grass creating ideal brain conditions for growth and learning.

So a short period of exercise prior to practice boosts player learning during practice.

And to magnify these benefits we can use pre-session exercise to develop players’ concentration, self-awareness, and emotional capacities.

To do so ask them first try to maintain attention on a particular aspect of exercise completion such as their breath, or the physical discomfort in their bodies.

Then the aim is to notice as quickly as possible when their attention has wandered, and refocus it on their chosen target.

Additionally, when players choose to maintain attention on and practice tolerating physical discomfort during exercise this strengthens brain regions responsible for...

Continue Reading...

Another Crucial Way That You Can Help Your Child Develop Self-Belief...

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article for you encouraging you to practice focusing attention on your child's competence (rather than weaknesses) after practice/competition to develop his/her self-belief. Self-belief is a personal quality that is largely developed via parent/coach-child/player communications to do with performance experiences. And it's been revealed in much research across various domains to be one of the most powerful determinants of long-term mental toughness and high performance...So in this article I want to introduce you to 1 more vital way that you can boost your child's development of self-belief...Communicating High Expectations.

Communicating High Expectations...

My master’s degree psychology thesis, which compared developmental factors between those tennis players who were considered to have overachieved in their career (some becoming Grand Slam champions) with those who were considered underachievers,’ revealed a...

Continue Reading...

Lendl's Rehab Influence Pays the Biggest Dividends for Murray…

 

 

At first watch, Andy Murray’s superb dismantling of Milos Raonic in the Wimbledon final may have looked like a simple case of too much speed, too much craft, and too much defence for the big Canadian…Together, this combination certainly played a major role in Murray claiming his 2nd Wimbledon title…Slowly but surely building pressure that took its toll in the form of incredible Murray returning and passing + uncharacteristic Raonic errors (especially in the tie-breaks which he often dominates.)

But behind this storyline lay a subtle sub-plot directed by Ivan Lendl…

Throughout his career Murray’s biggest achilles heel, along with his second serve, has been an addiction to self/support team abuse.

While I explained my opinion of this process in great detail when describing Murray’s mental capitulation against Djokovic in last year’s Australian Open final, I will review briefly again here before discussing how Murray’s...

Continue Reading...

Why Parent-Child Tennis Interactions Are the 'Perfect Storm'

 

 

How we interact with our children around tennis has incredible power in influencing his/her mental toughness development, even more so than coaches. This is due to the 'perfect storm' of factors that make tennis parenting interactions the most powerful determinant of children's mental toughness development, both on and off the court...

Our Brains Remember Important Experiences Better...

The genius of the human brain is evident in the way it has evolved ways of deciding which life experiences need to be remembered and learned from and which can be forgotten.

Recent research has shown us that the brain figures out what is likely to be important to remember based on a number of factors, making it more easily rewired as a result of these factors.

And as it happens, there are two factors crucial to sport that encourage our ability to remember sport experiences: exercise and high levels of emotion.

High Levels of Emotion

When an experience is unemotional our brain does not...

Continue Reading...