Mastering The Mental Game

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
First off.

Before I get into the post.

These tips are for competitive tennis players that want to transform their mental game and take it to another level.

So, if you can't or aren't feeling them, there is no need to comment on them.

Oh yeah.

They are free too.

Let's get into them.

1). Your emotional response in a match will always transfer control to your opponent.

During a match.

"Your opponent is always trying to read your emotional reactions after points".

So.

Never give them anything to work with.

Remain in the Mushin Mindset and focus on the next point.

2). Your words have power.

Every word you say during a match is important.

Because it will have an energetic influence on your play.

You should never say anything about your tennis or mental game, that you don't want to become true!!

This is really the key to playing the mental game like a warrior.

Speak powerfully at all the times on the court.

3). Win the point in your mind before you play it.

Now, of course.

You won't be able to do it all the time.

But here is the trick.

The more you do it before points, the better you will get at doing it and the more you will start winning those points.

It's the "Law Of Practice".

You become what you PRACTICE.

Let me share a story with you guys.

I had a junior in Kobe, who wouldn't do this at first(He thought it was impossible), but then he started doing it after a month and kept doing it for a month.

The result.

He started winning more points and couldn't understand why.

Here is why.....

All tennis players will perform up to the self-image that they have of themselves.

Because that is the mental law!!

Practice these tips until you master them.

You should be able to make that mental leap in 3 months!!
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
First off.

Before I get into the post.

These tips are for competitive tennis players that want to transform their mental game and take it to another level.

So, if you can't or aren't feeling them, there is no need to comment on them.

Oh yeah.

They are free too.

Let's get into them.

1). Your emotional response in a match will always transfer control to your opponent.

During a match.

"Your opponent is always trying to read your emotional reactions after points".

So.

Never give them anything to work with.

Remain in the Mushin Mindset and focus on the next point.

2). Your words have power.

Every word you say during a match is important.

Because it will have an energetic influence on your play.

You should never say anything about your tennis or mental game, that you don't want to become true!!

This is really the key to playing the mental game like a warrior.

Speak powerfully at all the times on the court.

3). Win the point in your mind before you play it.

Now, of course.

You won't be able to do it all the time.

But here is the trick.

The more you do it before points, the better you will get at doing it and the more you will start winning those points.

It's the "Law Of Practice".

You become what you PRACTICE.

Let me share a story with you guys.

I had a junior in Kobe, who wouldn't do this at first(He thought it was impossible), but then he started doing it after a month and kept doing it for a month.

The result.

He started winning more points and couldn't understand why.

Here is why.....

All tennis players will perform up to the self-image that they have of themselves.

Because that is the mental law!!

Practice these tips until you master them.

You should be able to make that mental leap in 3 months!!
I Dont believe the first one. Have you ever seen a Mcenroe match??? Dude took control from opponents with his emotional reaponses. Connors too and many others use emotional responses to get themselves and the crowd psyched. So i have a hard time believing this is true all the time. And how does the opponent "work with" an emotion they read? You need to explain that.

2nd there is no example of what to say. I mean after reading that all i will say from now on is "i always hit winners".

3 i can do. Though only on returns where i can tell what will happen before they hit the serve. This works well but also gets me aced when wrong. But how can you practice in a match. Should be the law of visualization and not law of practice.

And i dont buy that part about performing up to ones self image. How do you explain all the "beat by pusher" threads where the op clearly has a much higher self image than they have for their opponent yet they lose handedly.

Warriors get destroyed all the time no matter what their mental game says:

 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
I think McEnroe did it for sport. Lol. He always seemed disgusted. But he was so good I think he was just mad these other scrubs were even winning games off him.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
I think the OP is taking an unfair beating here. I agree with a lot of other posters that the advice the OP is giving out seems generic, but, to be fair, most of the advice you see about mental toughness tends to have a generic feel to it. Many famous motivational gurus have made a boatload of money by recycling generic advice.

Where the OP can do a better job is to not regurgitate the same generic advice about mental toughness. We get it, but it's time to give some specific tips. I'd have loved to seen more specific tips such as the one he talked about inhaling and exhaling during the different parts of the serve. What advice do you give when your serve is awry a given day? What if your best strokes are not working? Do you change it or stay the course? What if one's personality is not wired to be mentally tough, and is prone to a lot of self doubt? What can you do to change your intrinsic personality? What if you follow all the advice you have in the OP of this thread but are starting to lose, and lose badly? What do you do then?
 
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AllCourtHeathen

Guest
You are welcome to put me on ignore.

Probably the only useful suggestion you've made.

You do not need to read my posts either??? What's the difference?

You're the one who has a problem with a specific member, not me. I shouldn't HAVE to be putting people on ignore just to read the forum. YOU should be putting him on ignore if you dislike him that much instead of spamming his threads with crap. This ridiculous spamming you lot are engaging in got the other thread deleted. And here you are doing it again! The information OP posted may be vague and general, but it is not at all incorrect, or spamming, he's not trying to sell anything, he's just offering his genuine opinion. Most of what he is touching upon is already (obviously orders of magnitude more articulately) covered in Timothy Gallwey's "Inner Game of Tennis", but so what. He's clearly just trying to help.

It's disgusting watching you lot set upon him, and it makes this forum look bad.
 
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AllCourtHeathen

Guest
I can't find it again, but I recently watched an interview with Sam Querrey on youtube talking about his recent improvement and jump in level. In it he was saying how his coach helping him learning how to stay positive, to make sure he left each hitting session feeling "light", to subdue and quieten self doubt, were the main reasons he improved recently, not any technical change as he was hitting the same as he always has. It was a good little interview, I wish I could find it again.
 
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thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
I can't find it again, but I recently watched an interview with Sam Querry on youtube talking about his recent improvement and jump in level. In it he was saying how his coach helping him learning how to stay positive, to make sure he left each hitting session feeling "light", to subdue and quieten self doubt, that were the main reasons he improved recently, not any technical change as he was hitting the same as he always has. It was a good little interview, I wish I could find it again.
Tennis is all mental(This is what many coaches/players don't get) and it is the only game being played at all levels, juniors, college, and pro, I'll try to find the interview, Sam looks like he is ready for a big 2018 !! I like his mental game, but he has to keep working on it!!
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Tennis is all mental(This is what many coaches/players don't get) and it is the only game being played at all levels, juniors, college, and pro, I'll try to find the interview, Sam looks like he is ready for a big 2018 !! I like his mental game, but he has to keep working on it!!

It's all mental only if all other aspects (technical abilities, athletic abilities, fitness) are relatively the same. Then yes, it's the mental toughness that makes the difference. All agree that mental toughness is something that a lot of coaches have very little expertise on. This is why a lot of professional teams have dedicated sports psychologists. Mark Cuban to this day maintains that the 2006 Finals loss was due to him firing his psychologist at the behest of the coach. However, as others have said, there is no simple, one shoe fits all advice, which is why you have trained professionals in that arena too.

OTOH, if you are going after simple, bubble gum, pop psychology advice, then the simplest advice I have heard regarding mental toughness was Rafa once saying that he viewed every match as a fight and asking who likes to lose a fight? You can see that attitude reflect in his game too.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Probably the only useful suggestion you've made.



You're the one who has a problem with a specific member, not me. I shouldn't HAVE to be putting people on ignore just to read the forum. YOU should be putting him on ignore if you dislike him that much instead of spamming his threads with crap. This ridiculous spamming you lot are engaging in got the other thread deleted. And here you are doing it again! The information OP posted may be vague and general, but it is not at all incorrect, or spamming, he's not trying to sell anything, he's just offering his genuine opinion. Most of what he is touching upon is already (obviously orders of magnitude more articulately) covered in Timothy Gallwey's "Inner Game of Tennis", but so what. He's clearly just trying to help.

It's disgusting watching you lot set upon him, and it makes this forum look bad.
I think i made some valid points and asked for some explanation. Yet the OP doesnt seem interested in any dialogue. There are way better coaches here that are interested in dialogue and teaching like JY, Ash Smith, Balla, Systemic, etc. Sadly OP is if the Collo tennis mould with a my way or the highway insult based approach.

He is the one making claims and wigs out at the slightest challenge. And in a passive agressive way. Notice how he threw in that line about how his japanese friends think we are whacked. I would think a warrior would be more direct and at least respond directly to criticism.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
I think the OP is taking an unfair beating here. I agree with a lot of other posters that the advice the OP is giving out seems generic, but, to be fair, most of the advice you see about mental toughness tends to have a generic feel to it. Many famous motivational gurus have made a boatload of money by recycling generic advice.

On a medium like this the vast majority of "mental toughness" will be generic by virtue of the fact that it is such a personal thing and needs to be specifically tailored to the individual to have any lasting effect/major effect - therefore much of what is posted is essentially a "starter for 10" (probably means nothing to those outside the UK!).

When I have discussed psychology related matters on here with posters it probably gets very boring for everyone else as it requires me to ask question of the poster in question, so much of the time we have taken conversations to PM instead of flooding a thread with our own conversations.

"Teasers" like @thomas daniels has been posting are fine (and for the most part he is in the right ballpark), but I think he gets ripped on a little because a) whilst his "tips" are fine, they lack application for many people and b) when questioned/challenged on them he throws his toys out of his pram.

Would be good to see @thomas daniels contribute to some other threads as well as his own too...
 
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S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I can't find it again, but I recently watched an interview with Sam Querrey on youtube talking about his recent improvement and jump in level. In it he was saying how his coach helping him learning how to stay positive, to make sure he left each hitting session feeling "light", to subdue and quieten self doubt, were the main reasons he improved recently, not any technical change as he was hitting the same as he always has. It was a good little interview, I wish I could find it again.

Was it the "Holding Serve" series with Mary Carillo?
 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
On a medium like this the vast majority of "mental toughness" will be generic by virtue of the fact that it is such a personal thing and needs to be specifically tailored to the individual to have any lasting effect/major effect - therefore much of what is posted is essentially a "starter for 10" (probably means nothing to those outside the UK!).

When I have discussed psychology related matters on here with posters it probably gets very boring for everyone else as it requires me to ask question of the poster in question, so much of the time we have taken conversations to PM instead of flooding a thread with our own conversations.

"Teasers" like @thomas daniels has been posting are fine (and for the most part he is in the right ballpark), but I think he gets ripped on a little because a) whilst his "tips" are fine, they lack application for many people and b) when questioned/challenged on them he throws his toys out of his pram.

Would be good to see @thomas daniels contribute to some other threads as well as his own too...
Application? Try them first, because these mental tips have already worked for tons of juniors here in Kansai and you are always going on and on before you get to your point, stream your words down and work on expressing yourself better, that is what I was trying to say to you before.
 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
Application? Try them first, because these mental tips have already worked for tons of juniors here in Kansai and you are always going on and on before you get to your point, stream your words down and work on expressing yourself better, that is what I was trying to say to you before.
Also, did you hear what the guy said about Vilas using them!! No, you just wanted to get your 2 cents in, I already offer an open debate on Nakayama's show, leave your skype number and I will try to set it up and get you guys in, good thing a few people get this warrior playing philosophy.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Application? Try them first, because these mental tips have already worked for tons of juniors here in Kansai and you are always going on and on before you get to your point, stream your words down and work on expressing yourself better, that is what I was trying to say to you before.

My post wasn't in response to you.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
How? The competition stage is all mental and your mental game will determine your results.

Of course, @SinjinCooper is correct. Tennis involves a physical component also; without that, all of the mental strength in the world won't help you win.

I prefer to look at tennis skills needed for success as perhaps being a pyramid: many aspects go into the pyramid and mental toughness is certainly a big one. Given two people of relatively equal skill, I'd bet on the mentally tougher one.

Again, I don't disagree with the points you're making, only the tone in which they're presented [condescension] and how you react to questions/criticism [not very well].

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results: you keep posting and getting similar results but only you seem to be surprised. Is that an issue with the forum or with you [or a combination]?
 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
Of course, @SinjinCooper is correct. Tennis involves a physical component also; without that, all of the mental strength in the world won't help you win.

I prefer to look at tennis skills needed for success as perhaps being a pyramid: many aspects go into the pyramid and mental toughness is certainly a big one. Given two people of relatively equal skill, I'd bet on the mentally tougher one.

Again, I don't disagree with the points you're making, only the tone in which they're presented [condescension] and how you react to questions/criticism [not very well].

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results: you keep posting and getting similar results but only you seem to be surprised. Is that an issue with the forum or with you [or a combination]?
Oh yeah, of course, the development stage of a player's career is physical, but why state the obvious(Any real coach knows this). As I have pointed out too, these tips are for competitive players, who want to get out of a slump or take their mental game to another level, that being said. Are you a player or a coach,? Because honestly, I feel like I'm talking to my new students here. Have a great day my friend.
 

styksnstryngs

Professional
Oh yeah, of course, the development stage of a player's career is physical, but why state the obvious(Any real coach knows this). As I have pointed out too, these tips are for competitive players, who want to get out of a slump or take their mental game to another level, that being said. Are you a player or a coach,? Because honestly, I feel like I'm talking to my new students here. Have a great day my friend.
Uhh all of your tips are stating the obvious, bruh.
 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
Uhh all of your tips are stating the obvious, bruh.
You didn't even know about these mental tips because they are from the playing concept I created. And I can see they are not for you, so why are you commenting? Because you are an energy vampire and you don't have a life, as my Japanese friend advise me before, I will start ignoring you stupids clowns.
 

styksnstryngs

Professional
You didn't even know about these mental tips because they are from the playing concept I created. And I can see they are not for you, so why are you commenting? Because you are an energy vampire and you don't have a life, as my Japanese friend advise me before, I will start ignoring you stupids clowns.
Feel free to start when you wish.
Also, I beat a player today with zero mental game of my own. He, commendably, stayed focused the entire match, and even won a few games, but I, on the other hand, whacked away at first serves, hit terrible drop shots, attempted a tweener, etc. etc. So is tennis really all mental?
And please don't try and take credit for ideas that are completely unoriginal.


We get it, you're from japan. Congratuf*ckinglations.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
You didn't even know about these mental tips because they are from the playing concept I created.

You may have been the first to put those concepts down in the specific way you did; you are not, however, the originator since many of us who are commenting have all heard of them somewhere before. Gallwey's *Inner Game of Tennis*, Braden's *Mental Tennis*, and Gilbert's *Winning Ugly* come to mind. If you really did invent these concepts, you should sue those guys for copyright infringement.

And I can see they are not for you,

They are for me: I agreed with you if you didn't notice. I think your comments have validity and applicability. It's just that I've heard of them before.

so why are you commenting?

Because you're posting something on a public forum: "a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged." If you only want comments that are in agreement, you're in the wrong line, sister.

Because you are an energy vampire and you don't have a life, as my Japanese friend advise me before, I will start ignoring you stupids clowns.

While you're technically correct [vampires are in the class of the undead so, by definition, don't have a life], you don't have to let it get to you. You are rather thin-skinned: I guess you're not accustomed to people questioning your dogma.

Someone needs to set up the "energy vampires and stupid clowns" sub-forum. I guess I'm a charter member.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
He is the one making claims and wigs out at the slightest challenge.

Yes, the collotennis similarity is striking.

And in a passive agressive way. Notice how he threw in that line about how his japanese friends think we are whacked. I would think a warrior would be more direct and at least respond directly to criticism.

Yes: by chopping your head off. :)
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
You may have been the first to put those concepts down in the specific way you did; you are not, however, the originator since many of us who are commenting have all heard of them somewhere before. Gallwey's *Inner Game of Tennis*, Braden's *Mental Tennis*, and Gilbert's *Winning Ugly* come to mind. If you really did invent these concepts, you should sue those guys for copyright infringement.



They are for me: I agreed with you if you didn't notice. I think your comments have validity and applicability. It's just that I've heard of them before.



Because you're posting something on a public forum: "a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged." If you only want comments that are in agreement, you're in the wrong line, sister.



While you're technically correct [vampires are in the class of the undead so, by definition, don't have a life], you don't have to let it get to you. You are rather thin-skinned: I guess you're not accustomed to people questioning your dogma.

Someone needs to set up the "energy vampires and stupid clowns" sub-forum. I guess I'm a charter member.
I would add Allen Fox too.

Nice job about the undead not having a life. Lmfao!!

Personally i think the op forgot to practice what he preaches. Maybe more visualization of poasts before he writes them??

Starting a new book called the "Mental Game of Poasting : How to Win on the Internet"

Here is teaser for chapter one:

Your emotional response on a forum will always transfer control to your opponent

Damn its going to be a best seller!!
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
you are always going on and on before you get to your point, stream your words down and work on expressing yourself better

Odd, that I understood perfectly what @Ash_Smith was trying to say and didn't think he was excessively wordy.

How do you propose he "stream his words down"? How would you have written it?

I didn't count the words but you had 35 sentences in your original post; Ash only had 4, albeit much more complex and detailed.
 

abhimawa

Rookie
First off.

..

1). Your emotional response in a match will always transfer control to your opponent.

During a match.

"Your opponent is always trying to read your emotional reactions after points".

So.

Never give them anything to work with.

Remain in the Mushin Mindset and focus on the next point.

I wonder if this is about not showing your feeling when you're down, hurt, etc? Just like when you are in a fight, kumite, boxing, or even when playing poker so that your opponent will keep on guessing, no?
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
1). Your emotional response in a match will always transfer control to your opponent.

During a match. "Your opponent is always trying to read your emotional reactions after points". So. Never give them anything to work with. Remain in the Mushin Mindset and focus on the next point.

What if my emotional response is positive?

What if my emotional response is negative but unnerves my opponent? [Ref: *Winning Ugly*]

2). Your words have power.

Every word you say during a match is important. Because it will have an energetic influence on your play. You should never say anything about your tennis or mental game, that you don't want to become true!! This is really the key to playing the mental game like a warrior. Speak powerfully at all the times on the court.

- Positive Mental Attitude
- "Can do" spirit
- Glass half full

are other expressions I've come across. Also, I'd generalize it to "every thought you have whether spoken or not...". Thoughts have power, just as words do.

3). Win the point in your mind before you play it.

Now, of course. You won't be able to do it all the time. But here is the trick. The more you do it before points, the better you will get at doing it and the more you will start winning those points.

It's the "Law Of Practice".

Hmm: I sometimes visualize something specific. I certainly don't visualize every point. That would seem to be very taxing? And what happens when reality conflicts with your visualization? I think flexibility and adaptation are critical.
 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
I wonder if this is about not showing your feeling when you're down, hurt, etc? Just like when you are in a fight, kumite, boxing, or even when playing poker so that your opponent will keep on guessing, no?
Yeap and you are one of the few who get it too!!
 

thomas daniels

Semi-Pro
What if my emotional response is positive?

What if my emotional response is negative but unnerves my opponent? [Ref: *Winning Ugly*]



- Positive Mental Attitude
- "Can do" spirit
- Glass half full

are other expressions I've come across. Also, I'd generalize it to "every thought you have whether spoken or not...". Thoughts have power, just as words do.



Hmm: I sometimes visualize something specific. I certainly don't visualize every point. That would seem to be very taxing? And what happens when reality conflicts with your visualization? I think flexibility and adaptation are critical.
Are you stalking me man???
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Are you stalking me man???

Negative. They seemed like legitimate questions to me [which, BTW, you failed to answer]. I'm guessing if @AllCourtHeathen had asked them, you'd answer because he has previously supported you. But if I, @Shroud, @SinjinCooper, @styksnstryngs, @rogerroger917, @Ash_Smith, or @Topspin Shot ask the same question, you'll respond defensively. I've actually stated on more than one occasion that I mostly agreed with your points [just not your presentation or response to questions].

Besides, I thought you were ignoring the "energy vampires and stupid clowns"?
 

abhimawa

Rookie
Yeap and you are one of the few who get it too!!
I notice that top players are good in disguising their emotion when they're down, not letting it rules their heads. Federer and Nadal are the perfect example. Murray frequently experienced a string of mistakes, although he might recover quickly. When Sampras cried on court thinking about Tim Gullikson, I thought he lost it, but then he converted that into mental strength and won the match.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I notice that top players are good in disguising their emotion when they're down, not letting it rules their heads. Federer and Nadal are the perfect example. Murray frequently experienced a string of mistakes, although he might recover quickly. When Sampras cried on court thinking about Tim Gullikson, I thought he lost it, but then he converted that into mental strength and won the match.

On the other side of the emotional coin are the likes of Johnny Mac, Jimbo, Hewitt, etc. Murray is known for screaming and cursing at his own box. Nadal may hide his negative emotions but he's much more expressive about his positive emotions than Federer.

What they all have in common is superb control over their situation. Even Johnny Mac's and Jimbo's outbursts were likely calculated to a great extent [according to Gilbert in *Winning Ugly*].

As I've stated before, I place a great deal of emphasis on the 3 Fs: fitness, footwork, and focus [ie mental toughness; however, neither "mental" nor "toughness" start with "f" so I changed it to "focus" to keep the alliterative theme alive].
 

abhimawa

Rookie
...
What they all have in common is superb control over their situation.
...
As I've stated before, I place a great deal of emphasis on the 3 Fs: fitness, footwork, and focus [ie mental toughness; however, neither "mental" nor "toughness" start with "f" so I changed it to "focus" to keep the alliterative theme alive].
Well said. Just what I was going to add. They have to go hand in hand
Important words are underlined.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Well said. Just what I was going to add. They have to go hand in hand
Important words are underlined.

One sports psychologist referred to it as the player being in their own bubble, where they are immune [ideally] from negative influences and I suppose it can work in the opposite direction also: the bubble prevents negative emotions from leaking out and getting to their opponent. Instead, they are dissipated and the pro moves on.

Since you're one of the few that Mr. Daniels listens to, maybe you can inform him that I'm not stalking him and that I might actually have something to contribute to the thread.
 

abhimawa

Rookie
One sports psychologist referred to it as the player being in their own bubble, where they are immune [ideally] from negative influences and I suppose it can work in the opposite direction also: the bubble prevents negative emotions from leaking out and getting to their opponent. Instead, they are dissipated and the pro moves on.

Since you're one of the few that Mr. Daniels listens to, maybe you can inform him that I'm not stalking him and that I might actually have something to contribute to the thread.
ha ha ha.
I don't know Mr. Daniels, and I honestly would like to learn a lot. Please, share your knowledge. Learning is a never-ending story.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Negative. They seemed like legitimate questions to me [which, BTW, you failed to answer]. I'm guessing if @AllCourtHeathen had asked them, you'd answer because he has previously supported you. But if I, @Shroud, @SinjinCooper, @styksnstryngs, @rogerroger917, @Ash_Smith, or @Topspin Shot ask the same question, you'll respond defensively. I've actually stated on more than one occasion that I mostly agreed with your points [just not your presentation or response to questions].

Besides, I thought you were ignoring the "energy vampires and stupid clowns"?
You are a saint and clearly this guy isnt interested in any dialogue. Otherwise he wouldnt respond this way. Pretty sad from a mental game "expert"

Guessing Collotennis has moved to Japan or something
 
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AllCourtHeathen

Guest
As I've stated before, I place a great deal of emphasis on the 3 Fs: fitness, footwork, and focus [ie mental toughness; however, neither "mental" nor "toughness" start with "f" so I changed it to "focus" to keep the alliterative theme alive
I like it, really well put.
I recall reading of one commentator, observing Nadal shank a shot then simply shrug his shoulders to himself and brush it off, say "Well, that's gone" or something to that effect, in that Nadal has a way of simply flushing anything negative like that down a memory chute, and it doesn't effect his mental state, he just re-sets mentally, then returns to normal operational procedure.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
...Nadal has a way of simply flushing anything negative like that down a memory chute, and it doesn't effect his mental state, he just re-sets mentally, then returns to normal operational procedure.

That is the key. It's not that elite performers don't have negative thoughts (having no negative thoughts is ridiculously difficult) or that they don't get distracted/lose focus (again, almost impossible to remain 100% focused for the entire duration of a tennis match) - it's that they can recognise their loss of focus and have ways of not allowing it to take them away from the demands of the task.
 
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