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The Most Effective Way For Players To Increase Confidence...

 

 

One of the most common competitive issues players report is a lack of confidence or belief.

This may occur after several losses, when working on a change in technique or game style, or when playing someone with superior past results.

A few years ago I tended to encourage players in these situations to just ‘trust’ the shot, or ‘believe’ in themselves.

This is typically not helpful however.

Unfortunately, confidence, trust, and belief can’t be created out of nowhere.

Therefore, when I did this I was likely asking players to do something that was not possible.

When you encounter the inevitable loss of confidence at some stage, instead of expecting you to change the natural internal states that show up in these circumstances, I would first encourage you to reflect on your lack of confidence, belief, or trust and make sure you know that this is normal based on the situation that you’re in.

I then encourage you to work on skills that...

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A Helpful Action to Improve Our Returning Response Time...

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Today I've got a short video for you to show you how I've been working on trying to improve my reaction time when I am returning. It's been working pretty well for me and I actually used this in winning a pretty big doubles tournament on the weekend :-)

I hope you find it helpful too...

Talk soon,

Pat

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How Physical Training Develops Mental Toughness...

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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 emotional...

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The 2 Foundations of Mental Toughness (Video Post)

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I often find myself saying to players that "the components of tennis mental toughness are relatively easy to understand but very hard to do"...

At it's core our 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...

We 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 we know the processes that will most help us improve (in practice) and improve/win (in matches), the player who most frequently commits to repeating this simple formula in practice and...

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3 Simple But Powerful Ways Players Can Develop Mental Toughness...

 

 

1.) Practice Improving Attention Skills…

The 1stbarrier to mental toughness is when our concentration lapses.

Players can lose concentration during matches when they get distracted by external causes (e.g., sounds), or also when their naturally wandering minds start thinking about things not to do with the match.

It’s quite amazing that although being able to aim and maintain attention on a helpful performance target is such a foundational requirement to successful performance…

And although we are regularly told to “Pay attention” during our developmental years, we rarely actually formally practice it.

This is a little like expecting someone to get fit without doing fitness training!

Here is a super simple way that players can develop attention skills during the daily activity of teeth cleaning:

Step 1.) The idea is to see how long we can aim and maintain our attention on a sensory aspect of the activity…

So the sound of the...

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