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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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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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What Parents Can Learn From Federer's Mental Attributes...

 

 

With Federer serving at 2 sets down, 3-3, 0-40 against Cilic I’d resigned myself to having seen the last of his Grand Slam runs. ‘Father time was finally having its way’ my mind was saying. But of course I should have known better…

After all, perhaps because of his physical genius, Federer’s mental prowess has always seemed undervalued.

That he was able to perform perhaps his greatest, most important escape act, this late in his career, once again serves as a strong reminder of how great a competitor he has been, and still is.

And it got me reflecting on his greatest career mental traits, and what parents can learn from this…

For me, yesterday’s quarter-final match was a snapshot of what I believe are his top 3:

1.) Resilience

In summing up the match, John McEnroe said it well, “Everything was going against him and he figured out a way to win.., It’s one of the best efforts I’ve ever seen”.

And if 1...

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Developing Emotional Fitness vs Emotional Control...

 

 

 

One of the major ideas I focus on is the importance of helping players develop 'emotional fitness' rather than 'emotional control'...

Understanding the difference between these concepts and increasing skill in helping players develop 'emotional fitness' is usually the easiest and most powerful way that we can better help players develop long-term mental toughness...

So here's a clip of me discussing these ideas during my Tennis Australia Coaches Conference presentation...

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

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Lendl's Rehab Influence Pays the Biggest Dividends for Murray…

 

 

At first watch, Andy Murray’s superb dismantling of Milos Raonic in the Wimbledon final may have looked like a simple case of too much speed, too much craft, and too much defence for the big Canadian…Together, this combination certainly played a major role in Murray claiming his 2nd Wimbledon title…Slowly but surely building pressure that took its toll in the form of incredible Murray returning and passing + uncharacteristic Raonic errors (especially in the tie-breaks which he often dominates.)

But behind this storyline lay a subtle sub-plot directed by Ivan Lendl…

Throughout his career Murray’s biggest achilles heel, along with his second serve, has been an addiction to self/support team abuse.

While I explained my opinion of this process in great detail when describing Murray’s mental capitulation against Djokovic in last year’s Australian Open final, I will review briefly again here before discussing how Murray’s...

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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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Novak Djokovic's Secret Mental Toughness Strategy...

 

 

The 2014 Wimbledon Final…

When Novak Djokovic prepared to serve at 3-3 30-40 in the 5thset against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Final, imagine the internal challenges he would have encountered.

Being faced with the prospect of losing from 5-2 up in the 4thset must have been a chaotic mental test.

But fighting off break point in that moment and going on to deny Federer’s awesome comeback was an incredible effort.

Djokovic’s Improved Statistics…

To explore how much Djokovic has improved in the last few years I decided to compare his results from 2008-2010, with those from 2011-Present…

Grand Slam/ATP 1000 results 2008-2010: 79% winning percentage

Grand Slam/ATP 1000 results 2011- Present: 90% winning percentage

While this 11% improved winning % is significant, looking specifically at his statistics against Federer, Nadal, and Murray reveals an even more important story…

2008-2010: Murray 1-3; Nadal 5-10; Federer 5-8

2010-...

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