Thursday, February 11, 2010

How a player prepares herself mentally before a match - January 13, 2010

Hello from Australia.

My name is Pablo Giacopelli and I am currently working on the WTA Tour with a player from Israel called Shahar Peer.

Shahar and I have been together for over a year and have just began our 2010 campaign in Auckland, New Zealand where she reached the semi finals. We are now in Hobart, Australia, which is last warm up tournament before we travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open next week.

I am going to be writing a daily blog for all the members of ITUSA in the attempt to give you an inside view or experience of what is like to be on the professional circuit and how the pros or at least this pro does it.

Today I would like to focus on how a player prepares himself or herself for a match. Today our match is at 7 pm as we are playing a local player called Jelena Dokic. As the match is in the evening we can get some extra sleep in the morning, which is always nice. Shahar woke up at 9 this morning. We had breakfast and began our warm up at 10:45. We stepped on court at 11:15 and hit with another player for 45 minutes just making sure all is well and there was nothing Shahar felt needed to be touched up before the match tonight.

We then had lunch and returned and had a brief hit for half hour at 17:30. After this hit we will discuss the match briefly and put together a plan of play from the information we have if we have played the player before or the scouting I was able to do in the opponents match in the round prior to the one we are in now.

After this chat Shahar will get changed and then begin her mental routines that she uses. These vary from player to player. Many will listen to music and go to a corner on their own and visualize what they want to feel during the match and or the desired outcome they want or the way they would like to play or perform. Others will read a book, others will play cards, and others will just simply sit down and talk with their team.

The important thing is to have done the necessary work before hand focusing on technical, tactical, physical, and emotional aspects of your game. The last two aspects I mentioned are done differently with every player as these depend on the player and the way they are as people and what kind of physiques they have etc. For the first one and second one, the Technical and Tactical, we use a massive amount of video, as this is the only way to truly appreciate the difference the changes make and also help us like nothing else to identify the changes that need to be made in the first place.

Many people learn by watching and so it is with Shahar, is a combination of watching and doing. We have used the Stroke Analysis and Match Analysis tools in the ITUSA academy with great success for these two areas and have been able through them to save much time by addressing the real problems in her game by confirming what we already can see but also revealing the things that sometimes he naked eye just cant see no matter how well trained and experienced it is.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s blog. See you tomorrow.

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