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The Psychology of Federer vs Wawrinka: 2017 Australian Open Men’s Semi Final

 

 

What a match!

With the 1st set in the bag Federer stepped it up to play a sublime 2ndset and looked like he had Wawrinka’s measure.

But early in the 3rdtwo things happened in quick succession that conspired to trigger Federer to tighten…

He found himself on the doorstep of a highly unexpected Slam final at the same time as Wawrinka was struggling with a tweaked knee and looked on the edge of folding.

In next to no time the comfort of a 2 sets to 0 lead and having Wawrinka down 0-30 on serve early in the third, switched to high pressure after missing that chance plus playing a loose game to lose serve and go down a break.

Suddenly Wawrinka was free-wheeling it and Federer had the huge pressure of trying to finish a match that he had in his control just a few minutes earlier along with the added pressure of playing an injured opponent.

And With This Came The Nerves…

Federer reported in his post match interview with Jim Courier, “What can I...

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How Daria Gavrilova's Difficult Mental Experience Can Help Us...

 

 

“Well, to be honest, I was really concerned about how I was going to feel on that center court. I was a bit nervous. I was telling my coaches, God, I feel like I'm playing first round all over again, like the same nerves. Yeah, I was probably thinking too much of what happened last year. I don't think it was actually a good thing for me. But in the end I managed to not do what I did last year.”

Daria Gavrilova before her 3rd round Australian Open match…

I love hearing honest quotes from top players about the unintentional difficult mental experiences (nerves, frustrations, worries, fears, etc) that come with competing…

Why?

1.) It Demonstrates Vital Mental Toughness Attributes

1st, when players talk openly about their difficult mental states it demonstrates awareness of mental experiences which increases the chance to have choice in how they respond to them (as opposed to players who lack awareness which leads to the automatic/habitual...

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The Kyrgios Saga Continues…Why Players Give Up

 

 

While I’ve written about Kyrgios’s issues a couple of times in the past I’ve never before received so many communications asking for my opinion as on his performance last night against Andreas Seppi.

So here it goes…

Essentially, the way I saw it, Kyrgios tried for 2 and a half sets…Didn’t try for the next set and a half… Then see-sawed between trying and not trying in the 5th.

First, lets clarify the possible reasons players don’t try…There are only 3:

1.) Lack of motivation

We most commonly blame a lack of effort on poor motivation. While this is sometimes the case, more often than not I’ve found that what I first thought was a motivational issue, turned out to be a result of other issues.

2.) Caught in Helplessness

A more common reason players give up is that they become caught up in the internal experience of helplessness.

Throughout evolution it has increased the chance of human survival to be able...

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2 Mental Toughness Lessons From the Australian Open…What To Do and What Not To Do

 

 

1.) What To Do: Players should fight hardest when their opponent is trying to finish them off, because it’s more likely that they’ll play poorly at this time

It was a Major tournament master and a potential future star that taught us this huge competitive lesson to begin…

While so often players tap out and fold meekly when it gets time for their opponents to serve for the match (or close to it) champion veteran Stan Wawrinka and 17 year-old newcomer Alex De Minaur got tough at the right time and reaped the rewards.

For Wawrinka, down 4-3 40-15 in the 5thagainst a rampant Martin Klizan, the reward was a 6-4 in the 5thvictory. And his post match quote summed up the importance of fighting till the end when not playing your best, “Wasn't my best tennis today, but was fighting, trying to stay in the game, fighting a lot.”

For De Minaur, looking gone at 2 sets to 1 and 5-2 down in the 4th, he seemed to harness memories of Lleyton Hewitt at the...

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When The Mental Wall Hits...And How Players Can Climb It

 

 

 

The 8thDay of the Australian Open showed how even the best professional players aren’t immune from hitting the mental wall.

First it was Dominic Thiem winning a total of 4 more games when leading Goffin 7-5 6-6 (4-4 in tie breaker)…

Next it was Istomin who, since shocking Djokovic, had continued his impressive display with a 3rdround victory and was then leading Dimitrov 6-2 6-6 from which point he won only 3 more games…

And next, Bautista Agut had fought his way back after losing the 1stset against Raonic 6-7, to win the next 6-3 and find himself at 4-4 in the 3rdwith several break point chances to serve for a 2 sets to 1 lead…He won only 1 more game from that point…

And finally, with Nadal stumbling as he neared the finish line Monfils suddenly found himself back in the match with a big chance to take it to a 5thset serving at 4-3 30-0 in the 4th…He failed to win another game.

Together this group of players (Thiem, Istomin,...

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Why Do Players Act Angrily?

 

 

When players act angrily, to overcome it they usually need to first understand why they are acting that way. At first sight, we might assume that the anger comes from the frustration of not meeting performance expectations, or from being wronged (such as being cheated), and this can be the case. But there may be other reasons for player anger.

Let’s first look at 3 reasons players might act angrily during a match:

1.) Caught Up in Frustration

A common reason players become angry is that they become caught up in the internal experience of frustration.

For instance, if a player performs an action that doesn’t move them towards victory they may experience the thought, “That’s not good enough.” Similarly, when a player’s opponent makes an unbelievable play or if the umpire makes a bad call that moves them away from winning they might naturally experience the thought, “That’s not fair,” which will also evoke...

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Wawrinka's Pre-Match Nerves No Barrier To His 3rd Grand Slam...

 

 

That was another incredible big match performance by Stan Wawrinka to claim his 3rd Grand Slam and 11th finals victory in a row. Interestingly, it came after what he described as being the most nervous he has ever been before a match...

I found his candour regarding his pre-match nerves refreshing. Here's what he said in his post-match interview:

"Today, before the final, I was really nervous like never before. I was shaking in the locker. When we start five minutes before the match talking, last few things with Magnus, I start to cry. I was completely shaking...I was also -- because I don't want to lose the final in a Grand Slam. That simple. That's the only reason....The pressure, I was feeling amazing after the semifinal. I was feeling great yesterday. Really happy. But this morning it start to be there, the feeling of you don't want to lose. I don't want to come to the court and lose a final. So close, so far."

The reason players almost always feel nervous before...

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The 2016 US Open Women's Final: A Resilience Story

 

 

# I think Angelique Kerber's rise to the top of women's tennis is one of the most remarkable stories of resilience in tennis history...

In 2011 when Angelique Kerber arrived at the US Open, she was nearly 24 years old, had been on the tour for 7 years, and had passed the first round main draw of her previous Grand Slams on just 5 of 19 attempts (and had never been past the 3rd round).

From the outside looking in, most experts I'm sure would have already pigeonholed her career as a journey woman destined to be a perennial early round Grand Slam loser until career end.

That she went on to make the semis at that 2011 US Open was surprising…

That she slowly but surely built herself into a regular top 10er was superb….

That she has just become the World#1, won her 2nd Slam of the year, and also made finals appearances at Wimbledon and the Olympics is simply remarkable.

Her finals victory was another reminder of a career trademarked by resilience...

Her game...

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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...

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A Coach Program Success Story...TCU Mens Tennis

 

 

If you are considering applying for our 'Success 4 Life' Coach School/Academy Program, it has been influenced greatly by the participation and feedback of some fantastic coaches over the last several years in our PACT training courses.

One of those coaches is Devin Bowen...

A couple of years ago I was contacted by Devin Bowen.

He was working with a talented junior player at the time and he was finding it difficult to help this player achieve the competitive effectiveness that he was striving for.

I suggested Devin complete my online course which he did and this led to us talking frequently when he became assistant coach at TCU as he developed the team's mental toughness program...His great work helped their program go from #47 to the Final Four that year + achieve an improved singles win% among their returning players of over 20%...

Here’s how Devin remembered his implementation of the TCU mental toughness program at the end of that season:

“As I...

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