The Foundations of Player Mental Toughness…

I often find myself saying to coaches and players that “the components of tennis mental toughness are relatively easy to understand but very hard to do”…

At it’s core player mental toughness requires simply choosing to focus on a helpful process at the beginning of the rally or point, and actually committing to actions based on that focus during the rally or point.

In this way the formula for mental toughness is Helpful Attention + Action = Mental Toughness

And the key reflection…

Players must regularly check in at the end of rallies/points and ask the following question: Did I commit my actions to my chosen attention during the rally or point?

The bottom line is that, assuming that we as coaches are helping educate players on the processes that will most help them improve (in practice) and win (in matches), the player who most frequently commits to repeating this simple formula in practice and matches will improve the most and become the most effective competitor…

So, of course, it’s super important that we encourage players to practice it..Check out the video above with USC freshman Jack Jaede to see how I tend to encourage players to practice this process…

How Fear of Failure Causes Players to Forget the Goal of Competition…

Allen Fox

For any coach wanting to better understand common underlying causes of poor player mental toughness you won’t find a more helpful source than Allen Fox…

Here, in one of my favourite articles, he explains how players drive to reduce fear of failure often causes them to forget the aim of competing – which of course is to win!

Check it out…

Grass Court Image

The 2016 Men’s Australian Open: The Big ‘4’ is Now the Big ‘1’

When Novak Djokovic lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open last year, I wrote this in my post-match review:

“His (Djokovic’s) efforts strongly indicate that his march towards becoming a master competitor is complete…Quite simply, his ability to maintain consistent competitive effort throughout the challenges of both his semi-final (in which he beat Murray in 5 sets) and final was hugely impressive…With the histrionics and hitches that were a feature of his early career play becoming almost nonexistent, unless players can repeat Wawrinka’s incredible level, it looks likely to become a Slam fest for Djokovic in the coming years.”

Funnily enough, it was the way Djokovic lost that convinced me that he had overcome the final barrier (his occasional low stress tolerance) to becoming virtually unbeatable in the Slams…

And He Has Improved Since Then…

The 2016 Women’s Australian Open: 3 Resilience Stories…

In 2011 when Angelique Kerber arrived at the US Open, she was nearly 24 years old, had been on the tour for 7 years, and had passed the first round main draw of her previous Grand Slams on just 5 of 19 attempts (and had never been past the 3rd round).

From the outside looking in, most observers I’m sure would have already pigeonholed her career as a journey woman destined to be a perennial early round Grand Slam loser until career end.