What’s the difference between a Top Ten player and one who continues to lose the big matches and lingers in the 25-50 range? It is not all a measure of physical skill. Most athletes will contribute a significant portion of their success to their MENTAL skills … the ability to stay calm, to stay focused, and to stay “in the moment.”
But for most of us club (and even tournament) players, we may work on tennis skills and may work on physical conditioning; but we hardly ever work on our mental skills (or lack thereof).
At last year’s Newk camp, Paul Reardon gave me a copy of a book co-authored by his sister Jackie, a former touring pro. The book is called “Mindset” and I just finished reading this very helpful treatise on how to train your mind to better handle match play (and life play).
According to the authors, “By changing your mindset, you will get the best out of yourself, and you will find yourself able to do far more than before with the same level of skill. Getting into a flow is within anyone’s reach, provided you know what to focus on. Mindset is a mental guide that teaches you to change from story thinking into action thinking. You will learn how to be in the here and now, and to conquer the interference coming from the ego. Winning from within yourself will become more important than winning from your opponent. Once you have mastered this way of thinking, you will always be able to give your best performance.”
The major premise of the book is that when our mind focuses on “story thinking,” (the score of the game, the score of the match, what a win/loss will mean to you, who is watching, what they will think about you, etc.) we cannot play our best. What we have to do is train the mind to focus on “action thinking” (where to place the serve, hitting deep groundstrokes, attacking the second serve, etc); so that we can raise the level of our game.
More than a philosophy, “Mindset” gives you tangible steps you can take to change your behavior — and maybe even your results. The book is worth getting and reading. For more information, click HERE for a link to their website, www.themindset.eu
Paul, Thanks … and hope to see you in October.