Elite Psychology

Ash_Smith

Legend
Elite psychology can be simply described as... "your ability to accept your current thoughts/emotions and remain focussed on the demands of the task"

Remember, a thought isn't a "real" thing, it is an abstract concept - you can choose whether you act on it.

Have been working a lot recently with my athletes around their awareness of where their focus/attention goes during matches - does it go somewhere helpful, somewhere dangerous (like outcome) or somewhere else entirely (off task).

Before you can work to bring yourself back to centre you have to have awareness of when/where your focus/attentions shifts.

How are are you?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I used to think that thoughts were abstract, till I watched an interview with Deepak Chopra, on PBS I think. BTW, for the record, I respect his medical credentials but don't agree with his religious mumbo-jumbo. He said in the interview that a thought is a real chemical event in the body. I dug it up now:

http://www.anewdayanewme.com/oprah-deepak-chopra-good-thoughts-can-heal-bad-thoughts-may-kill/

Deepak Chopra M.D., who has taught at medical schools such as Harvard and Boston University, served on panels with the National Institutes of Health, and was Executor Director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind-Body Medicine, tells Oprah that whenever we have a thought, our bodies make a chemical that goes along with that thought. And with every feeling that we have, our bodies are producing chemicals that reflect those feelings. That is because the cells in our brains, our immune system and every cell in our body, contain chemical receptors (recievers) that are listening and ease dropping on our internal dialogue.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Ash, any hints for keeping one's mind focussed on the task at hand? I have a bad habit of losing focus during matches. As I've gotten older, it seems my attention span has shortened. I get bored during a match, start watching matches on adjoining courts, good looking girls , etc.

I do find that I play much better when I shut off my brain and just concentrate on seeing the ball and reacting instinctively. My game goes south if I am thinking about strategy, etc.
 

tennis_balla

Hall of Fame
I think about women while on the court, nothing but women. During a lesson when I space out in my thoughts, standing there daydreaming about the hot new receptionist I saw earlier, sometimes my students ask me if I'm ok. I snap out of it, yell "Turn your shoulders more, contact out in front, split step!!!" and everything is back to normal again.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Ash, any hints for keeping one's mind focussed on the task at hand? I have a bad habit of losing focus during matches. As I've gotten older, it seems my attention span has shortened. I get bored during a match, start watching matches on adjoining courts, good looking girls , etc.

I do find that I play much better when I shut off my brain and just concentrate on seeing the ball and reacting instinctively. My game goes south if I am thinking about strategy, etc.
First step is to become aware of when your focus shifts and secondly not judging yourself for it happening - it will happen at some point. Judgement will likely only cause frustration at your inability to stay focussed on "what's important" which leads to anger and you end up in a downward spiral!

Once you can recognise that your focus has shifted you need some kind of intervention to bring yourself back, many athletes have some kind of trigger to refocus - often something tangible they look at or do - tennis players straightening strings for example. The "thing" you use should only be used when necessary to refocus, not as part of a pre/post point routine. To give you a real world example an athlete I work with is focussing on her racquet grip when she notices her attention has shifted. She has to acutely feel the grip, the contours, the texture, is it hot, cold, tacky, soft etc. Her attention shifts usually in one of 2 ways - either totally away from task (singing songs from Frozen for example!) or towards thoughts of frustration/anger at lack of perfect execution - neither of which are helpful if you choose to act upon them, the grip thing helps her not act upon those thoughts and to re-centre. She is ranked inside the worlds top 20 for reference, so elite players still have these issues.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Cool topic Ash

I don't understand the awareness and acceptance part. 1st off emotions are just weird to me. I never seem to understand them, why I get them, what to do with them etc. they seem stupid and useless. Spock has it right IMHO

But last match I played I was serving 30-40 with the game score at 3-4

It was the second serve. Normally I just decide what serve and where and before the toss I say the word FIERCE as a reminder that I need to actually hit the serve and not just guide it. If I guide it bad things happen.

But this time I found myself saying "I haven't double faulted all match". And promptly framed the ball into the net. WTF?

I don't think it was pressure as I usually serve out of those situations. Unlike some posters there is video evidence of this. When Maximagq and LeeD played we also played doubles and the 1st set I played I held my serve every time but all those games I think I was behind and had a few break points every game

How does accepting those emotions help. And what emotion does that encompass? How can I never do that crap again??
 

RajS

Semi-Pro
@Shroud: This is really funny, I can't tell you how many times I've thought "Hope to god this won't be a DF" and then dumped my 2nd serve!

I now have a recovery routine which, while not perfect by any means, does improve my outlook and concentration in a match. To summarize:

1. While serving, I just slow down, and have a picture in my mind for the first or second serve (as the case may be), before I do the act. If a bad thought barges in, I just let it... too much pressure otherwise!

2. While returning serve, keep the feet nimble/moving, ready to split. But most importantly, concentrate like hell on where the ball is going to bounce. After the bounce, delay the hit as much as possible, and hit it slightly up as though you are imparting a little topspin (can't do much more with a short back swing as in a serve return). Forget thoughts of crushing the ball!

3. For ground strokes, be ready to move like your life depends on it. Also, watch for the bounce like a hawk, and be fully prepared with your back swing at the bounce. Delay the forward swing almost until the ball is in the hitting area, and think topspin. Do not try to hit winners when you are trying to recover your concentration!

You get the idea. This may seem to be rather long and convoluted, but it is really easy once you do it. You can add your own variation to it... but I think it should have an element of slowing things down a bit.

Maybe Ash will be kind enough to comment on my approach to recovering concentration. As I said, it works sometimes, but mainly keeps me going with a purpose. Heck, in the end, if my buddy wins, so what... lol!

Edit: I forgot to add that sometimes concentration fails due to something nagging at you physically, and when a fitness issue gets in the way, it is hard whatever you try.
 
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HughJars

Banned
I used to think that thoughts were abstract, till I watched an interview with Deepak Chopra, on PBS I think. BTW, for the record, I respect his medical credentials but don't agree with his religious mumbo-jumbo. He said in the interview that a thought is a real chemical event in the body. I dug it up now:

http://www.anewdayanewme.com/oprah-deepak-chopra-good-thoughts-can-heal-bad-thoughts-may-kill/

Deepak Chopra M.D., who has taught at medical schools such as Harvard and Boston University, served on panels with the National Institutes of Health, and was Executor Director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind-Body Medicine, tells Oprah that whenever we have a thought, our bodies make a chemical that goes along with that thought. And with every feeling that we have, our bodies are producing chemicals that reflect those feelings. That is because the cells in our brains, our immune system and every cell in our body, contain chemical receptors (recievers) that are listening and ease dropping on our internal dialogue.
All that ******** can be summarised by four words: fight or flight response
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I used to think that thoughts were abstract, till I watched an interview with Deepak Chopra, on PBS I think. BTW, for the record, I respect his medical credentials but don't agree with his religious mumbo-jumbo. He said in the interview that a thought is a real chemical event in the body. I dug it up now:

http://www.anewdayanewme.com/oprah-deepak-chopra-good-thoughts-can-heal-bad-thoughts-may-kill/

Deepak Chopra M.D., who has taught at medical schools such as Harvard and Boston University, served on panels with the National Institutes of Health, and was Executor Director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind-Body Medicine, tells Oprah that whenever we have a thought, our bodies make a chemical that goes along with that thought. And with every feeling that we have, our bodies are producing chemicals that reflect those feelings. That is because the cells in our brains, our immune system and every cell in our body, contain chemical receptors (recievers) that are listening and ease dropping on our internal dialogue.
OMG. Its true. I feel nauseous when I read posts like this....:)
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
If a negative thought, "Dont double fault!", creeps in as the toss is rising upwards, is there still time to do anything mentally to recover from that and salvage that particular serve?

Or is it too late?
 

Bendex

Professional
Cool topic Ash

I don't understand the awareness and acceptance part. 1st off emotions are just weird to me. I never seem to understand them, why I get them, what to do with them etc. they seem stupid and useless. Spock has it right IMHO
Awareness and acceptance of emotions is vital in sports. Suppression is unrealistic and counter productive.

If you're stuck on a railway and there's a train coming for you, no amount of deep breathing or waterfall visualization is going to suppress your emotions. Similarly, if you really want to beat the guy down the other end, you might be able to suppress the emotions sometimes, but they will come back in the big moments, and if your policy is suppression and not acceptance, you will panic and it will definitely lead to tension.

When you start to feel the emotions, be aware of them. Notice your heart beating. Go looking for that feeling in your gut. Stop being afraid of them, then you won't panic.

You'll get used to these bad passengers the more quality time you spend with them.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Awareness and acceptance of emotions is vital in sports. Suppression is unrealistic and counter productive.

If you're stuck on a railway and there's a train coming for you, no amount of deep breathing or waterfall visualization is going to suppress your emotions. Similarly, if you really want to beat the guy down the other end, you might be able to suppress the emotions sometimes, but they will come back in the big moments, and if your policy is suppression and not acceptance, you will panic and it will definitely lead to tension.

When you start to feel the emotions, be aware of them. Notice your heart beating. Go looking for that feeling in your gut. Stop being afraid of them, then you won't panic.

You'll get used to these bad passengers the more quality time you spend with them.
Thanks for trying to help. I never should have posted. I am sure you are right, but I just don't understand, and probably no amount of text will help me.

There was a strength training book I bought and it had routines and you were supposed to write down what you ate how much you slept, etc. EVERY day it asked you how you "felt". Everyday I would get ****ed at that question. I could never figure out what the relevance was...what to do with that. Why would that matter? I think I stopped filling out the book after the 1st week though the routines really helped.

Its like when I read books. I hate most books because they spend soooo much time detailing what the room looked like. It makes zero difference what color the pillows are or if the table is made of wood or what a character looks like. What happened is what I want to know. Books could be alot shorter.

I guess the emotions are alot like the colors of the pillows....

The more I think about Ash's post the more I think focusing on the task at hand REQUIRES tuning unnecessary things out.

I zoned once. It was at a tournament that I won and it was during the final. I certainly wasnt aware of much that day besides playing. It wasnt even conscious...like I was a puppet and someone was pulling the strings. I certainly wasnt aware of any emotions outside of thinking things were weird. it was auto pilot really.
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
Cool topic Ash

I don't understand the awareness and acceptance part. 1st off emotions are just weird to me. I never seem to understand them, why I get them, what to do with them etc. they seem stupid and useless. Spock has it right IMHO

But last match I played I was serving 30-40 with the game score at 3-4

It was the second serve. Normally I just decide what serve and where and before the toss I say the word FIERCE as a reminder that I need to actually hit the serve and not just guide it. If I guide it bad things happen.

But this time I found myself saying "I haven't double faulted all match". And promptly framed the ball into the net. WTF?

I don't think it was pressure as I usually serve out of those situations. Unlike some posters there is video evidence of this. When Maximagq and LeeD played we also played doubles and the 1st set I played I held my serve every time but all those games I think I was behind and had a few break points every game

How does accepting those emotions help. And what emotion does that encompass? How can I never do that crap again??
the key word that your mind registers is "double-fault". that´s what it focuses on. like when you say to yourself: "don´t get nervous",
"don´t look in the sun while serving",...,
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
had a group lesson once with a sports psychologist.
he told us to close our eyes and think about a snake. visualize that snake.
than he asked us what kind of a snake we saw in our mind. turns out, we
had all seen different kinds of snakes. rattle snakes, cobras, mambas,etc

then he asked us to close our eyes again, and not think about a snake:)
can you imagine what happened? everyone of us thought about the snake and then tried to not think about it.
 

Bendex

Professional
Thanks for trying to help. I never should have posted. I am sure you are right, but I just don't understand, and probably no amount of text will help me.

There was a strength training book I bought and it had routines and you were supposed to write down what you ate how much you slept, etc. EVERY day it asked you how you "felt". Everyday I would get ****ed at that question. I could never figure out what the relevance was...what to do with that. Why would that matter? I think I stopped filling out the book after the 1st week though the routines really helped.

Its like when I read books. I hate most books because they spend soooo much time detailing what the room looked like. It makes zero difference what color the pillows are or if the table is made of wood or what a character looks like. What happened is what I want to know. Books could be alot shorter.

I guess the emotions are alot like the colors of the pillows....

The more I think about Ash's post the more I think focusing on the task at hand REQUIRES tuning unnecessary things out.

I zoned once. It was at a tournament that I won and it was during the final. I certainly wasnt aware of much that day besides playing. It wasnt even conscious...like I was a puppet and someone was pulling the strings. I certainly wasnt aware of any emotions outside of thinking things were weird. it was auto pilot really.
Let me try and simplify. Last Monday I was playing doubles. I stepped up to serve for the match and lost the first 2 points. I felt my heart start to beat, and that familiar tightening up. That's when I took my own advice and went looking for that nervousness. The more I dug for it, the more it went away. Then I served out the match quite comfortably.

Hope that helps.
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
the key word that your mind registers is "double-fault". that´s what it focuses on. like when you say to yourself: "don´t get nervous",
"don´t look in the sun while serving",...,
I very much relate to this. On key points I changed my internal monologue from 'don't double-fault' to 'got to make this', and my success rate has improved considerably.*


* improvement based on anecdotal rather than empirical evidence. I'm not yet at the point where I record such match stats.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
All that ******** can be summarised by four words: fight or flight response
It is more subtle than that. He says EVERY thought has a bio-chemical effect, not just extreme adrenalin-based ones. I think that is why religions emphasized (unknowing of the science behind it) that every thought must be morally pure, not just the action which may or may not follow.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
1st off emotions are just weird to me. I never seem to understand them, why I get them, what to do with them etc. they seem stupid and useless.
Whenever I don't understand something, I turn to Biology. Emotions are an evolutionary mechanism which developed along with complex brains for the sake of survival. Though it may appear that some emotions like depression and suicidal tendency do the opposite, they are a by-product, i.e., they have to exist because the opposite of them (happiness) has to exist for humans to be interested in survival and procreation. Animals and plants are hard-wired, so they will automatically do what they have to do without complex motivations.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
I very much relate to this. On key points I changed my internal monologue from 'don't double-fault' to 'got to make this', and my success rate has improved considerably.*

It's good that it works for you, but "Got to make this" sounds too outcome oriented for me...

Not sure what my internal monologue would be, but I seem to serve best when mind is essentially blank.
 

Ballinbob

Hall of Fame
I have the same problem Raul....Even if I haven't double faulted for awhile, the very second I even think of DF'ing I will. Doesn't matter if I think positively or negatively...the problem with me seems to be just thinking in general. Like if I hit a winner and think about how I hit the winner so I can replicate that later on, I will usually miss like the next 5-10 balls. It's embarrassing.

If I could somehow stop my thoughts I would improve .5 NTRP overnight.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Let me try and simplify. Last Monday I was playing doubles. I stepped up to serve for the match and lost the first 2 points. I felt my heart start to beat, and that familiar tightening up. That's when I took my own advice and went looking for that nervousness. The more I dug for it, the more it went away. Then I served out the match quite comfortably.

Hope that helps.
You are lucky. I am pretty sure I wouldnt be aware of anything like that.

Occasionally I will realize what is going on and find myself saying things like "oh **** its match point". But beyond that I dont seem to dig a deep as you do.

you are lucky.

When we played dubs when Maximagq was up here we were serving for the set and Papa Mango said "Pray I dont doublefault it away" before he started his service game. Is that a very public way to acknowledge the tightness you mention?
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Whenever I don't understand something, I turn to Biology. Emotions are an evolutionary mechanism which developed along with complex brains for the sake of survival. Though it may appear that some emotions like depression and suicidal tendency do the opposite, they are a by-product, i.e., they have to exist because the opposite of them (happiness) has to exist for humans to be interested in survival and procreation. Animals and plants are hard-wired, so they will automatically do what they have to do without complex motivations.
Sure I agree with this for the most part. Yeah you need a HEAVY dose of emotions to convince yourself that it makes sense that it would work out with a chick. Hopefully there are some exceptions but I certainly havent found one.

The ones you are fundamentally compatible with on a daily level are lame in bed and the flaky, undependable and untrustworthy ones, rock your world... Those ones always seem to elicit much stronger emotions because, well it is needed to cloud your brain.

You are making my point about the value of emotions.

And does biology explain why all these junior parents want you to hit with their kids because I DON"T understand that!
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
If you think of double faulting or not double faulting, etc and you double fault then shouldnt we all be saying "Ace" or "don't go for the ace" before we serve?

SHouldnt that produce....aces?
 

Bendex

Professional
You are lucky. I am pretty sure I wouldnt be aware of anything like that.

Occasionally I will realize what is going on and find myself saying things like "oh **** its match point". But beyond that I dont seem to dig a deep as you do.

you are lucky.

When we played dubs when Maximagq was up here we were serving for the set and Papa Mango said "Pray I dont doublefault it away" before he started his service game. Is that a very public way to acknowledge the tightness you mention?
If you're getting to serve for the match against Maximagg, you must be doing Ok. :)

No, I don't think talking about double faults is a good strategy, although maybe it lightens the mood so that the negative emotions disappear. That is an avoidance strategy, rather than an acceptance strategy. Avoidance doesn't always work, so you must also learn acceptance.

Next time you play, go in with the preconceived notion that you're going to look for the negative emotions. When they arrive, do an in depth analysis of them. Analyze the physical effect they are having on your body, analyse your mental state. Make this your priority for the match. There's a high chance the negative emotions will barely show up, if you're constantly wanting them to show up. Just try it.
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
It's good that it works for you, but "Got to make this" sounds too outcome oriented for me...

Not sure what my internal monologue would be, but I seem to serve best when mind is essentially blank.
for me, it works like this. i think about what i want to do with my serve. direction, pace, spin, etc. and then i stop thinking and my mind as you say is blank.
in the first phase, where i decide what i want to do, it is essential to stay positive. that is what i meant. if a thought like "don´t double-fault" comes up, accept it and then follow it up with a positive one.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
If you're getting to serve for the match against Maximagg, you must be doing Ok. :)

No, I don't think talking about double faults is a good strategy, although maybe it lightens the mood so that the negative emotions disappear. That is an avoidance strategy, rather than an acceptance strategy. Avoidance doesn't always work, so you must also learn acceptance.

Next time you play, go in with the preconceived notion that you're going to look for the negative emotions. When they arrive, do an in depth analysis of them. Analyze the physical effect they are having on your body, analyse your mental state. Make this your priority for the match. There's a high chance the negative emotions will barely show up, if you're constantly wanting them to show up. Just try it.
To be clear, we lost 7-10 against maximagq/ LeeD. The match was against Raj and Yaz where Papa Mango mentioned double faulting away.

I will try what you say. Though not sure what will happen. FWIW if I play all happy and positive it usually means a loss. Like a little puppy just playing around all happy.

If I wake up and get angry I find I focus much better and seem to concentrate better. Though I have way more fun when I am smiling and happy. In doubles I just try to have fun.

I think I need a middle ground :)
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
No, I don't think talking about double faults is a good strategy, although maybe it lightens the mood so that the negative emotions disappear. That is an avoidance strategy, rather than an acceptance strategy. Avoidance doesn't always work, so you must also learn acceptance.
Speaking of the psychology of DFs, there was a section on it in the latest Tennisview magazine on the Yips as they called it, and it was generalized to any shot with a fine motion control failure. Players like Blake and coaches like Nick B. and Brad G. weighed in. Suggestions ranged from resetting with a simpler version of the stroke, to playing with reverse psychology (pretending to be down when up), acceptance, and some other tips. I threw away the mag, wished I had kept it.

Previous to this, I had read about the yips in golf, which is a much more demanding precision sport. Yip is a fine motor control failure even in the most talented athletes and there was debate whether it was due to "psychology" i.e. is it in the head, or a real medical condition.
 

winstonlim8

Professional
Back when I had such an unreliable serve, I used to dread serving. I never knew if I was going to hit 4 good ones or 4 double faults. It got so bad that I decided to sit down and analyse just exactly what I was doing wrong (and right) and
A. Correct what was wrong
B. Try to replicate what was right every time

From that, I understood that -
1. I was serving everything flat or close to flat, even second serves with just a bit of slice.
2. I needed to learn a topspin-based serve.
3. The fear of double faulting made me tentative, affecting both my toss and my entire service motion as well as all the other serve mechanics.
4. I needed to simplify my serve, get rid of all the frills and focus purely on getting all the important parts of it right.

It took three months of three times a week 300 balls a session practice before I finally learnt to -
A. Hit all my serves with topspin.
B. Change the thinking habit of "I hope this one goes in" to "This one goes to that corner," and actually expect the ball to go where I want it to (now it does.)
C. Cut down my double faults, so that unless my sugar is very low I average no more than one double fault every second or third service game even while hitting both first and second serves at 90%++ effort.

I think the thinking and the physical skills have to go hand in hand, especially when overcoming old habits and training new (and better ones) to replace them.

And I have also tried to learn to focus on where to put the ball on every shot (as well as expecting the ball to go there) rather than worrying about what my opponent is going to do as a way of overcoming mental shakes (I used to be a very nervous player even after 35 years).

I don't know if that's anywhere even close to an elite thinking mode but it has certainly helped me to raise my game.





PS
Funny but it was actually the pre-game nerves that made me enjoy playing tennis.
 
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Ash_Smith

Legend
Are you a registered sports psychologist or just well read in the field
Some interesting responses, I'll try and get through them properly tonight when I have more time.

MT, no I have no formal qualifications in Psychology, but I work a lot with our team psych and have read extensively in the field of skill acquisition, I would call myself an enthusiastic amateur :)
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
I play my best when I am not talking to myself. When I am cool and focused and going through my motions. When I remind myself that you only need 60% of the points to win when I am passed at the net and when I refocus quickly from missed volleys. I play my best when I can get a song stuck in my head and hum it the whole time and when I can convince myself that winning or losing doesn't matter at all. Psychology is weird, its like putting on a new pair of shoes, you have the pair you wear when you train and the pair you wear when you compete and they are completely different.
 

marian10

Rookie
The "thing" you use should only be used when necessary to refocus, not as part of a pre/post point routine.
thanks i already have routines but a separate "refocus trigger process" sounds perfect. Do you have more examples other than the grip trick?

It is known that recognizing and accepting panic attacks when they occur greatly helps people suffering from GAD.
 

Ballinbob

Hall of Fame
Any books on how to control/manage your thoughts on court? Not the Vic Braden one, I want like a sports psychologist's opinion. I really struggle with result-oriented thinking and want to read more on it.

I'm finding it difficult to get rid of these thoughts when I get them on court. I'm bipolar so I have racing/obsessive thoughts at times...And they can often lead to result-oriented thinking and very negative thoughts that I can't get rid of even after the match is over. I can't control it, one bad thought or one thought about the outcome of the match and the thoughts start clouding my judgement. Has anyone been to a sports psychologist here? I think I am going to see one as it's covered by my insurance, but I don't know what to expect. The more matches I play the more I realize this is keeping me from my full potential...

EDIT: Checking out the book "Games People Play" posted above to see what it's about
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Haven't played in 2 weeks. Today I had a match and decided to try something.

Before every serve I would sing a song: "I'm all about the Ace, the Ace no double. I'm all about the Ace, the Ace no double"

Taken from these vids:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

this one's for Maximagq: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV5WqRnFejI

It seemed to work as I only had one double for 2 sets of dubs. Thats pretty good for me especially with a 2 week lay off.

Though there were no aces. I wasnt going for any.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Hey Ash,

I have soiled this thread for you and now realize you said ELITE. Oops :)

I am guessing that there is some difference in ELITE psychology but am not sure.
 

beltsman

Legend
Haven't played in 2 weeks. Today I had a match and decided to try something.

Before every serve I would sing a song: "I'm all about the Ace, the Ace no double. I'm all about the Ace, the Ace no double"

Taken from these vids:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

this one's for Maximagq: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV5WqRnFejI

It seemed to work as I only had one double for 2 sets of dubs. Thats pretty good for me especially with a 2 week lay off.

Though there were no aces. I wasnt going for any.
One of the worst songs ever. Come on.

I tend to start randomly saying Stone Cold Steve Austin sayings out loud and laughing at my misfortunes, because I can recognize when I'm falling into bad patterns and then I'm outside of my subconscious basically.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
One of the worst songs ever. Come on.

I tend to start randomly saying Stone Cold Steve Austin sayings out loud and laughing at my misfortunes, because I can recognize when I'm falling into bad patterns and then I'm outside of my subconscious basically.
I like the starwars version. And all about the ACE the ACE no doubles- seemed to work.

Stone cold? you got a favorite saying? I'll try it.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
It may be off topic, but there are players who can't hit with and who can't hit without a dampener. Often terms like "confidence" is used when players of either side of the coin try to explain their preference.

Isnt this a psych thing? And from Ash's description we should just be aware of what we are feeling and just focus on the task at hand?

If so, then wouldnt this be a teaching drill. Just add or remove a dampener before a practice match, and viola, instant psych drill.
 

tennis_balla

Hall of Fame
Elite psychology can be simply described as... "your ability to accept your current thoughts/emotions and remain focussed on the demands of the task"
I've had moments in matches where I was so deep in concentration that I'd go through some points and it felt like an out of body experience, literally. It felt like someone or something else was controlling my movement, my shots and I was just watching. I remember one match in particular where I was zoning, or tree'ing as the juniors in the US like to say. It didn't feel awkward at all, but of course I couldn't miss, knew exactly where he was going to hit the ball before he struck it and made decision out of nowhere.

Speaking of accepting your current thoughts and emotions, thats exactly what I did when playing like complete crap. Instead of trying to keep hitting it the same way, missing and expecting to play well I stopped (during a changeover) and said ok it is what it is, recognized where I was going wrong and worked my way up from there. For example, can't hit winners, have no feel on the shots and footwork sucks. Ok, work on breathing to stabilize yourself, get on the balls of your feet and for the next games get everything back and hit no winners till you get that feel back in your shots, however long in takes. Main concern was to stop giving away free points and make him earn it. This is an extreme example when wheels come completely off, but it was accepting the current situation whatever that may be, finding the right path and doing it.
 

tennis_balla

Hall of Fame
One of my biggest problems when playing, and I worked on it to minimize it and recognize early, was I'd completely zone at the start of the match. People would say, "WTF who is that guy?!?" cause I'd blow the guy off the court in the first 3 games or so....and then lose it. I lost it because I got scared. Lost my focus and never recovered. I got scared because I knew I couldn't keep up this level the whole match. I played 3 or 4 games absolutely in the zone and I had no idea how to play this guy, tactics, how he plays etc because I didn't need to. Now I was lost.
Winning Ugly helped me a lot in this, where he mentions how guys like Lendl and Sampras would start the match at 60% and work their way into it. Always having an extra gear to go to. Federer does this well also.
When you start at 100% you have no other way to go but down if things go bad. I don't wanna peak in the first few games, I wanna peak towards the end of the first set and go from there into the second and the match. Settle in, know what my opponent is like then hit the gas.
 
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