Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mental Toughness……it sure does make a difference! - January 15, 2010

Buenos Dias as they say in my native Argentina…….

Well did we have a marathon last night. Shahar came through to win after nearly three hours on court 7-5 on the third set.

She didn’t play her best tennis, which meant that for most of the match she was behind yet still managed to win at the end. Often people ask me why are great players great. Every time I answer them that it is because their mentality is such that it enables them to find a way to win even when they are not playing their best tennis.

Tennis is a very deep sport. I often say that the racket and the balls are just there so that people outside can watch something and be entertain, yet the reality of what they are watching is very different. In the court there are two individuals fighting against each other mentally and emotionally and with most players themselves as well. The outcome of a point, match, etc often comes at this level to the way the player can conduct himself or herself during that point and how much confidence and faith they have in their ability to make whatever needs to happen actually happen.

For example in Shahars match last night she faced a player on form that was hitting the ball very well. Ws clearly confident and had nothing to loose. She was a set up and four two up serving, everything indicated outside that she was on her way to a comfortable two set win, however inside her the matter was very different. Without any technical or tactical reason she began to make mistakes she had not made the whole match and through these opened the door for Shahar to get herself back in the match. Many were surprised when this began to happen, I however wasn’t as I know the fact that I shared with you before.

Most players have a psychologist they work with who helps them to learn to discipline and control their thinking, especially when they are under pressure. Players often develop rituals that help them to prepare themselves mentally before a match as well as control their mind during the match. These are disciplines that are developed and practiced over time until they become like a second nature to the player.

We are on first today which is not easy as we finished at 10 pm last night and didn’t get to bed until midnight…still we have done our homework so we are ready physically and mentally. Lets hope for the best

See you tomorrow!


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