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...
PACT Method Quick Guide…
If you’d like to discover the method that we at Mentally Tough Tennis use with significant success to help players respond better to mental challenges so they can better apply their helpful strategy, check out our PACT Method Quick Guide to understanding and improving mental toughness. You can get it here :-)
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...
Despite what we've been led to believe, it is NOT advisable to encourage players to try to control emotions during matches. Check out the reasons why and what we should do instead...
What an incredible rollercoaster that was!
A perfect example of why tennis is the ultimate sporting mental test. Tough conditions…Massive momentum shifts…And ultimately an incredibly brave effort from Ash Barty to make her 1stGrand Slam final.
There’s a lot we can learn from such a great battle. Because tennis is so challenging it never has been and never will be about perfection. Instead it will always be about dealing with frequent challenges just a little better than the person down the other end. And beneath massive momentum swings that are so common in matches usually lies the same predictable psychological processes for all players who are willing to put it on the line as these 2 young ladies did.
Here’s my most important takeaways:
1.) Compete Your Hardest When Your Opponent Is Ahead, As This Is When It's Most Likely They'll Play Their Worst
The moment that a player realises they are in reach of winning a set or match, but have...
We can take many lessons from the amazing run that Naomi Osaka is currently on in the Slams. But there is one that stands out more than any other for me...
Did you see that Naomi Osaka lost her Madrid Masters match after leading 5-3 40-15 in the 3rd?
Thats right, even the world number 1 can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory :-)
Whats more, she only won 2 more points for the rest of the match...
And in my latest 'Mental Toughness Made Simple' video I reflect on the crucial lesson we can learn from Osaka's experience. It is, in my opinion, the most important factor in what separates the winners from the losers on any given day.
Check it out by clicking below:
Today I want to focus on a crucial lesson we can take from what were in my opinion the 5 most important points of Fabio Fognini’s career last week in Monte Carlo. Now you might be thinking these points occurred during his amazing win against Nadal but they didn't.... Take a look at the video to find out :-)
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1.) Compete Your Hardest When Your Opponent Is Trying To Finish You, As This Is When It's Most Likely They'll Play Their Worst
As we saw in the final stages of the women's tournament, finishing close matches is hard, even for the best. And it was this fact that allowed Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova to get back in their matches against Serena and Osaka.
These 2 recoveries were my favourite efforts of the tournament. To do this, the key is to recognise the difficult thoughts that will surely arise when our opponents seem likely to finish us (e.g., Pliskova remarked that her head was 'already in the locker room' against Serena), and commit to taking actions that increase the chance of success on just the next point (and practice repeating these steps over and over.
2.) Choking is Rarely Fatal, So How Players Recover From Getting Tight Is Super Important
All players tend to get tight at least occasionally when finishing sets and matches...Federer struggled big...
Almost universally, coaches and parents report to me their advice to players regarding competing effectively includes the aim to control unintentional match related thoughts and feelings like nerves, frustration, and helplessness. For example, statements like: "Believe in yourself", "Stay calm", "Don't worry about the outcome", "Accept errors", Don't get frustrated at the wind", etc, etc.
While this is well-intentioned and sensible on the surface, a crucial question to reflect on in trying to help players improve is this:
How well does it work?
For example, I imagine that before their matches against Nadal and Kerber, Alex De Minaur and Kim Birrell's coaches advise included a combination of certain strategies to employ and also the message: "Believe In Yourself".
But as their respective matches unfolded, I wonder whether their dominant thoughts and feelings were more reflective of self-belief or helplessness.
I strongly suspect that no matter what their coaches did or...
With the Australian Open about to start Mentally Tough Tennis consultant Pat Flynn is hard at work preparing a player for the Australian Open.
Today he shares with us 2 tips for responding well to the normal and frequently occurring pre-tournament worries and concerns. This topic is especially relevant at the start of the year when we may not have competed in a while...
Check out Pat's report from the tournament above and if you would like to access a video example and instructions for the activity that we find most useful in helping players apply Pat's tips during matches you can do so here :-)
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