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A Great Activity to Help Players Respond Better to Difficult Match Related Thoughts :-)

 

 

 

If a player's tendency to choke, lose concentration, give up, act angrily or simply underperform stems from listening to the difficult passengers that often get on our bus during matches (or maybe even trying to kick them off the bus), this activity called ‘Thanking the Passengers’ is very helpful when practiced regularly.

Step 1.)

As soon as a player recognises that they’re no longer committing to helpful actions during a match (such as your strategy or helpful cues), they should scan their mind for any difficult passengers commenting on the situation.

Step 2.)

Typically we find that the nervous passengers say things like “you’re going to mess it up/don’t lose from here/don’t miss”, the frustration passengers say “that’s not good enough/that’s not fair”, and the helpless passengers say “there’s nothing you can do”. When players notice what their difficult passengers are saying...

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Everything Players Need to Know About Developing Mental Toughness in a 2 Minute Story About a Bus Driver......

 

 

 

Amazing as it sounds, everything players need to know about developing mental toughness can be learned in a 2 min story about a bus driver...

Each day the bus driver selects his bus route and tries to drive his bus where it needs to go. The more the bus driver is in touch with why it is important to him to do his job well, the more motivated he will be to drive well (Key 1: Performance Aims).

To increase the chance of a successful trip the driver puts his attention on the road in front of him/her (Key 2: Present Moment Attention) and takes actions of steering and pressing the accelerator and brake in a way that takes the bus in the right direction (Key 3: Committed Action).

The bus driver stops the bus to pick up passengers at each bus stop. Different passengers get on depending on the stop. The driver doesn't have a say in who gets on the bus, everyone is welcome as long as they pay their money. Therefore, sometimes good passengers get on the bus...

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The Skill That Most Determines Competitive Success (And How It's Been Key To Djokovic's Resurgence)...

 

 

Given that a break of serve would have almost certainly resulted in another Nadal Slam victory...who would have thought that when Novak Djokovic walked up to the line to serve at 7-7, 15-40 in the 5th set of their Wimbledon semi-final a few months ago that he would wake up regaining his #1 ranking by early November...

After all, in that moment he must have been experiencing significant self-doubt given that he hadn't won a Grand Slam for more than 2 years (which probably included the prediction that he would likely lose the match)...And he must have felt frustration at having just double faulted at 15-30 and earlier twice coming within 2 points of victory (0-30 on Nadal's serve).

But what happened next was that Djokovic cracked a Serve + 1 combo to force a Nadal error, followed by an ace. This gave an insight into what was to come in the minutes and months that lay ahead... And how Djokovic had regained the mental skill that had provided the foundation for him...

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When The Mental Wall Hits...And How Players Can Climb It

 

 

 

The 8thDay of the Australian Open showed how even the best professional players aren’t immune from hitting the mental wall.

First it was Dominic Thiem winning a total of 4 more games when leading Goffin 7-5 6-6 (4-4 in tie breaker)…

Next it was Istomin who, since shocking Djokovic, had continued his impressive display with a 3rdround victory and was then leading Dimitrov 6-2 6-6 from which point he won only 3 more games…

And next, Bautista Agut had fought his way back after losing the 1stset against Raonic 6-7, to win the next 6-3 and find himself at 4-4 in the 3rdwith several break point chances to serve for a 2 sets to 1 lead…He won only 1 more game from that point…

And finally, with Nadal stumbling as he neared the finish line Monfils suddenly found himself back in the match with a big chance to take it to a 5thset serving at 4-3 30-0 in the 4th…He failed to win another game.

Together this group of players (Thiem, Istomin,...

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Varying Time Between Practice Rallies to Develop Competitive Skill...

 

 

 

Typically, when players miss a ball during practice, they tend to feed the next ball in quite quickly (generally a couple of secs) without intentionally refocusing before the start of the rally.

When players do this, however, they miss out on a great opportunity to develop basic competitive skills.

Here are 2 activities I complete with players regularly to help them practice intentionally refocusing and committing to a helpful process for each new rally (you can also see me explain and complete the activities with USC All-American Jack Jaede in the video above where he is completing the 'calling the attention' activity I showed you in an earlier video post...)

Activity 1: 5 Secs Between Rallies

When players miss a ball they must take approximately 5 secs before they are allowed to feed the next ball

Players are instructed to use this time to ensure that they are explicitly focused and committed to a helpful process before starting the next rally.

The Benefit: ...

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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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