Posts Tagged ‘mental training’

Hi everyone. So this post is a regurgitation of a conversation I had with my friend and coach Yves Latreille. The hope is to provide some thoughts on the requirements and the training of the mental side of sport and in this case tennis.

For me this is a mind field (haha) that is extremely difficult to implement. I have asked questions etc about their performance and what they are thinking and feeling and have just received the answers I want to hear.

So the conversation started in regards to a player I work with that is experiencing difficulties in performing in competitions. the player is very talented and in my harsh opinion underachieves in competition. I can you all already that this could be influencing his state of mind. It might but I very rarely let him know that (or at least I think I do).

A link to another article on Yves’ site Mental Training

So I chatted with Yves and here are some thoughts.

Sometimes the player is over confident or in some cases under confident. This is something you can find out by discussing with him. Ask him/her questions about what he thinks of competition and how he/she approaches it. Try to find out how he/she feels before the match, the day before, just before he/she steps on court, during the match and after the match. Does the player feel confident, energised, up for it, willing to fight? Does the player feel afraid of losing or playing poorly? Is there player worried about what the coach will think or what his parents think?

As I thought more about this it became clear that it was imperative that I knew this stuff and the people around the player also knew this stuff!

Sometimes players can focus more on the result and winning the match that they forget about the process of actually playing. Yves referred to this as Competition Paralysed!

this is very hard work and Yves suggests being positive all the time with explanations of what is needed to improve the outcomes. As an example focus on the level of intensity in training. A simple scoring system of intensity and setting this as a match requirement or goal. The result is secondary or completely lost now.

When a player focus’ on the result this can paralyse the player not only mentally but physically. This explains the perception of not trying or being lazy.

We can tackle this by focusing on the intensity in points or drills and the relaxing between points or drill sets. Use the patterns of play and the focus of sessions to distract from the result and focus on the process. This can also be the focus of a match or competition. Next time the player plays set him to targets 1. focus on game plan and 2. focus on intensity (no matter what!).

Following this discussion came this…

players can interpret anxiety as a negative instead of using it as a challenge. Can the player identify all the things that make them feel this way? Can you find away to control them or avoid them?

Does the player know what level of arousal they perform best at?

So in conclusion

We need to allow players to learn how to avoid stress factors before competition, and during competition to learn to relax between points, (breathing techniques).

Set performance goals not results based goals. If you don’t set any goals be sure the player is setting results goals and this is where the problems occur.

focus on Intensity, relaxation between points and game plan!

Well there is some food for thought,

A link to another article on Yves site Mental Training

good luck and make it count x

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