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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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2 Powerful Communications That You May Not Have Realised Develop Mental Toughness...

If I could choose one attribute that I believe most supports player development of mental toughness I would choose emotional intelligence. But what is it and how can we nurture it in young players?

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to respond flexibly and intentionally to difficult emotional experiences like frustration and nerves.

This ability allows us to choose actions that serve our best interests even when we are experiencing difficult internal experiences (thoughts, feelings, body sensations, urges.)

So, for instance, when faced with a match situation that evokes anxiety, emotional intelligence would allow players to recognize anxiety, be able to accept the normality of that reaction, and continue on to face the existing challenge.

And when engaged in the challenge, frustration will naturally arise after an error.

An emotionally intelligent response would see players recognize the feeling then refocus attention on a process that...

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How Does Physical Training Increase Player Mental Toughness?

 

 

 

Less Physical Discomfort…First, fit players tend to experience less physical discomfort than unfit players in the same match circumstance. Therefore, fit players are better placed to focus their energy and attention on helpful processes that increase the chance of success, whereas unfit players are more likely to start taking actions based on their experience of physical pain. 

But there are also other reasons for the link between physical fitness and mental fitness that have to do with how our brains operate.

Stronger Bodies, Stronger Brains…

It turns out that physical pain and emotional pain are housed in the same brain area.

So what this means is that when players evoke physical discomfort through physical training they are literally making their brain stronger in coping with physical pain.

And because this part of the brain is also largely responsible for coping with emotional pain, physical training makes players fitter at coping with...

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How Joao Monteiro Became the Biggest Improver in College Tennis…

 

 

In 2015, I was privileged to be invited by Head coach Jim Thompson to work with the Virginia Tech men’s tennis college team…As part of this, I worked with the players directly and Assistant Coach Stephen Huss also participated in a PhD project throughout the season designed to help develop his skill in coaching mental toughness…During the season the returning players were able to achieve an average 25% improved singles win rate and an all-time best school ranking…

And one of those players was Joao Monteiro…

Joao completed his college journey in May as the most improved player in College tennis…

In this post I want to give you a summary of Joao's story which Coach Huss first told a couple of months ago....But also give you a glimpse of how Joao's development was in part a result of him embracing my 4A Cycle process and the VT coaching team's improved skill in helping him develop mental toughness…

Joao’s Freshman...

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SPECIAL REPORT: Control Traps Explained...

 

 

About 10 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...

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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...

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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...

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