So how has John Millman gone from a teenager with one of the poorer techniques in his local squad to becoming one of the top 50 male players on the planet and earning himself another date on the centre court at a Grand Slam with the great Roger Federer?
In today's 'Mental Toughness Made Simple' video I discuss his greatest talent which is also the #1 predictor of how much players improve over time...
It is among the most common issue people seek my advise on.
In fact, all players choke.
Whether it be Novak Djokovic when leading 4-2 in the 5th against Fed in last years Wimbledon final.
Or Fed himself at match point in the same match.
Or Serena in several huge matches of late.
Watching Aussie Marc Polmans escape with a gutsy 5 set win after getting tight and missing several chances to win in 4 sets yesterday at the Aussie Open reminded me of the most important skill to develop when it comes to choking.
Because all players will do it to some degree quite regularly...Responding well to choking, rather than reducing the choke itself, is the more important skill to develop.
This starts with normalising it...
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
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Have a great week,
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...
Register your details below to get our best free resources and special offers straight to your inbox :-)