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The On-Court Coach Communication Style Critical to Player Mental Toughness Development...

 

 

 

When coaches get this communication style consistently right, it's about as powerful a mental toughness promoter as there is...

That's the reason that we all should focus on it until it's fundamental to our helping style (especially when players get frustrated after missing a shot/losing a point during practice).

But because of our competitive brain it's hard not to fall for the trap of doing a poor job of this when working on improving an area of a player's game....I know I catch myself not doing it very well regularly.

And I'm guessing if I watched you coach I'd see you regularly trip up on this one as well...This video is about how to gradually boost your players mental toughness by using this simple communication style.

Wherever you're watching, when you're done scroll down. Leave us a question or comment, and all the best for the coming week :-)...

 

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The Independent Athlete Myth...

 

 

One emerging theme in player development involves the idea of creating independent players.

But this goal underestimates the importance of the coach-player relationship. And brain research has shown that it’s not possible to create an independent player anyway.

So how can we balance players’ best interests by simultaneously encouraging the coach-player relationship while also supporting their developing autonomy?

Let’s take a look.

The Independence Myth...

It’s important for coaches to incorporate non-directive coaching methods that encourage players’ ability to problem solve, make sound decisions, take responsibility for actions, and behave in a more self-determined manner.

But these goals must be balanced with the recognition of the importance of strong coach-player relationships.

It is, I believe, a trap to emphasize player independence to a point that we ignore what research has revealed about the social nature of our development.

And...

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Players Can Develop Mental Toughness Anywhere, Anytime...

 

There is NO more simple, powerful way for players to develop the 4 mental toughness foundations than through off-court attention activities.

Watch this video to see me complete a simple 'Sounds Attention' activity with USC All-American Jack Jaede...In the video I also explain to Jack how the activity relates to his development of mental toughness.

If you would like access to a download of the Sounds Attention Activity You Can Get It Here...

Wherever you're watching this, scroll down when you're done. Leave us a question or comment and all the best for the coming week :-)...

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6 Simple Strategies To Encourage Player Skill Development...

 

 

Coaching requires a degree of explicit/directive approaches, especially when a player lacks knowledge/skill in the area being coached. Due in part to ease of delivery, it's tempting as a coach to focus our communications solely on this explicit style of advice relating to task improvement (E.G., "This is how you should do it".)

But over time, players can tend to switch off to continual explicit instructions from coaches, and we need to have more communication strategies in our 'kit bag'. 

If you're working with a player who you feel is doing a poor job of listening to, and implementing, explicit advice that you find yourself continually repeating, here are 6 simple strategies that you might find improves player implementation of your advice...

1.) Check For Understanding

When you're giving a player direct/explicit advice, frequently check the player's level of comprehension.

You might do this by asking for understanding or you might look for situations in which...

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The 1 Crucial Factor That Cost Federer Big Time Against Djokovic…

 

 

Before this match, I was curious to see many good judges predicting a Federer victory. And with Djokovic looking below par in the 3rd set, Federer had his chances to grab the match by the throat earning 2 break points at 3-4. But why did I feel, that even in these moments, Djokovic was a heavy favourite to go on and win the match? To answer this question, it’s important to first reflect on the dynamics of that commonly used word: CONFIDENCE.

 What is Confidence?

Confidence is simply the triggering of implicit memories of past outcomes in similar circumstances.

Implicit memories? What?

Implicit memories are memories that are created without us knowing we're remembering something (as opposed to explicit memories where we are aware that we are 'remembering' something).

For example, one type of implicit memory is called ‘procedural’ memory that relates to skill development...

An example of procedural implicit memory is learning...

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A Great Way To Increase Your Commitment to Helpful Actions...

 

 

 

Mental toughness occurs when players intentionally bring their attention into the present at the start of each rally/point, then actually commit action to a helpful process during the point.

But how do we know if players are actually committing to their chosen attention?

And how can players practice this Attention + Action combination?

One simple way is to get players to verbalise the attention they are committing to as they do it...Watch this video to see an example of USC All-American Jack Jaede verbalising a strategy attention...

And if you would like access to our Committed Actions Worksheet which we use to encourage players to more often do processes that increase the chance of success You Can Get It Here...

Wherever you're watching this, when you're done scroll down. Leave a question or comment for us, and all the best for the coming week :-)...

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How Parents Can Help Players Develop Self-Belief...

 

 

In my work as a psychologist I've been in the privileged position of seeing up close the common parental tendencies that support the development of both children's tennis mental toughness and well-being. One such tendency is a consistent bias towards focusing on children’s competence rather than faults or weaknesses.

Among the most powerful times I learned this lesson was when I was lucky enough to interview some of the world's best coaches, players, and also parents of champion players (including Grand Slam champions), as part of my Psychology Masters thesis in which I explored the development of mental toughness in tennis several years ago.

Although I had seen this pattern many times before, I was still amazed at how often coaches and players spoke of the power of parental influence on children's self-belief development based on the frequency of what I would call competence reinforcement...

And not surprisingly, when I concluded my study, the #1 predictor...

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The 2 Psychological Factors That Supported Fognini's Remarkable Comeback Victory Against Nadal...

 

 

At the end of this match I was left both dumbfounded and dizzy after witnessing an incredible comeback from 2 sets and a break down, including 7 straight breaks in the  5thset, and finally an insane level of play to finish the fairytale. Watching Fognini point to his head and pump his heart as he looked to his supporters to signify his massive mental effort left chills..

John McEnroe summed up the collective feeling well when he remarked, “That was one of the greatest, most spectacular comebacks you’re ever going to see…The level of play to mount that miraculous comeback will be remembered for a long time.”

But what allowed this moment to unfold when Rafa had previously been a perfect 151-0 when leading by 2 sets in Slams?

I contend that, during the crucial 3rdset, based on these players' combined recent histories, 2 key psychological factors consecutively unfolded to give Fognini a chance at the unbelievable; when; if faced with the...

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Nick Kyrgios's Greatest Challenge

 

 

Despite Nick Kyrgios' awe-inspiring talent and unwavering self-belief…It appears clear that significant psychological hurdles stand between him and the fulfilling of his immense potential.

For example:

The loss of concentration during some matches…

Frequent intense anger…

His verbal abuse of others…

His occasional lack of effort…

Here's my take on why I think at least in part, Kyrgios' has developed an addiction to behaviours that serve to reduce fear/anxiety common to competing.

The 5 Behaviors…

1.) Appearing to Lose Concentration

Players can reduce difficult internal experiences without realizing to distract themselves away from the task at hand.

When we experience difficult predictions or judgments to do with competition outcomes, or difficult feelings and physical sensations to do with those thoughts such as anxiety, we may automatically shift our attention on to something else to avoid those difficult experiences.

This...

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The 2 Crucial Foundations of Player Mental Toughness (Video Post)...

 

 

 

We often find ourselves saying to coaches and players that "the components of tennis mental toughness are relatively easy to understand but very hard to do"...

At it's core players's mental toughness requires simply bringing their attention into the present at the start of a rally or point and choosing to commit to a helpful process (e.g., a technical cue like 'stay low', or a strategy such as 'rally deep and attack the short ball')  during the rally or point.

In this way the formula for mental toughness is Present Moment Attention + Helpful Committed Action = Mental Toughness

And the key reflection...

Players must regularly check in at the end of rallies/points and ask the following question: Did I actually commit my actions to my chosen attention during the rally or point?

The bottom line is that, assuming that players know the processes that will most help him/her improve (in practice) and improve/win (in matches), the player who most frequently commits...

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