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Psychology of Tennis

"Building the Subconscious Tennis Matrix in your mind ! "

The purpose of your consistent and intense practice sessions is to construct a tennis matrix in your subconscious. ( A matrix is defined as "something within which something else originates or develops.") From your practice and repetition you have carved out many nerve pathways within your tennis matrix. On a subconscious level these nerve pathways communicate with each other, allowing your body to play tennis more instinctively and automatically. Depending on your level of play this matrix can take months or years to develop. Aspire to be a good novice player and with a few months of practice you have increased your matrix to support that goal. But if you aspire to be a top pro you are looking at 10 years minimum (with intense practice, beginning very young) to develop a super highway matrix where impulses are traveling at blinding speeds.

But once you have built this subconscious matrix you still have a problem. Here's the conundrum. If your goal was to become a 4.0 player and you have developed a matrix in practice that supports that 4.0 goal, have you arrived? Answer. Nope! Now, the tough part begins. You have the matrix with all the nerve pathways in place, but you now must learn how to access this matrix in tournament play. Just like when you buy software and load it into the computer but have no idea what keys to press to make it work. The software is there but you cannot access it. The same is true with the subconscious tennis matrix that you have developed. Building the matrix is one thing but accessing it is another. So, how do you now access this matrix?

Here is one button to push to access the matrix and allow it to perform its function. That button is "trust." You must practice trusting the matrix in tournament play. You let go consciously and trust your training. The training has to be sufficient,though & then let the matrix perform through the good times, through the bad times and though the okay times. Let the matrix guide the play. Your job is to do nothing but trust it!

Bruce lee, the great martial artist, summed it up best. In an interview he was asked, "What exactly do you do that helps you react so quickly." He answered, "When the opportunity arises I do nothing...it just happens by itself." Bruce trusted his subconscious matrix to do the job. He built a martial artist's matrix, then trusted it.

You will NEVER get over the hump in tournament play if you will not trust what you have built in practice. Trusting the matrix in practice matches is one thing but trusting it in tournament play is an entirely different story.

In match play if your trust button does not work you will have to consider bringing in a programmer and resetting your default mechanism. You are defaulting to unbelief. You do not believe in yourself enough to consistently let go in match play. When belief in yourself is strong enough you will trust the subconscious matrix to perform, even through the failures. You need some belief training!

THE TWO-STEP BELIEF TRAINING PROGRAM

So, how can you develop some belief in yourself? The first step is to begin in practice matches. If you cannot let go in tournament play you have not yet learned to totally let go in enough practice matches. You must use many practice matches to develop belief in yourself and your tennis matrix.

The second step is to find some small tournaments to play. In these tournaments your main goal is NOT to win. I repeat, your main goal is NOT to win. Your main goal will be to TRUST the tennis matrix and experience what this feels like in a tournament. If you lose but experience some sensations of trusting the matrix...you are on your way! This is mental conditioning to believe in yourself and trust your tennis matrix through the whole range of human emotions that can derail you in match play. Play as many small tournaments or club round robins as it takes to begin experiencing belief in yourself and your tennis matrix. Do NOT focus on winning. Let winning take care of itself.

Sooner or later you must learn to react instinctively and automatically in match play. This simple two-step plan can speed up the process and teach you to believe in yourself and your training.

Michael Korda a famous novelist once said, "To succeed, we must first believe that we can."

Remember, building a tennis matrix and becoming an improved player is one phase of tennis. This takes many hours and hours of perfect lessons, self-practice and play. But accessing that matrix in match play is another phase of tennis that must be mastered. To do this you need a plan...and now you have one. "

Musings on the eve of the last week of French Open 2008...

First of all,a big shout out to the plenty of new students joining us. Hi guys !

I'm so excited about the closing line up in this year's french open. It's nailbiting !

In the women's , Safina pulled off yet another upset after Sharapova ,beating kudnzetsova in the semi's to come head to head against Ana Ivanovic,who'll be looking to win her maiden french open after coming so close last year but losing it out to the incomparable justine henin hardenne..

The men's provides the real fireworks this time around.Federer's looking to win his primo uno french open this time around , filled with burning ambition,but a underdog frenchman faces him in the semi's.With the partisan parisian crowd going to roar for Gael Monfils , Can the fed express steamroll him to enter the finals .. ? Federer nevertheless called Monfils difficult to play "because he's French, and he's very fit at the moment." ( visa vis his recurrent injury problems.. )

The big questions is , Can Nadal win it a 4th time ? Listen to what one compatriot has say about him , ( Nadal's third-round victim ) Jarkko Nieminen puts it, "I don't let any point go, but the way he concentrates is like every point is a match point. That's very impressive. Doesn't matter if it's a small tournament, first round, or if it's 1-5 or 5-1 in the first set. It's always the concentration, and the way he concentrates, it's tough to be better than that in any sport."

Novak Djokovic stops him . & if ever there was one guy capable of stopping nadal on his favorite surface,it's this 21 yr old serbian.Can he rise up to the challenge ?

Why is nadal exceptional on clay ?

Federer has the speed & power for hardourts,but clay courts are a different ball game altogether.The ball kicks up way more due to the loose nature of the surface,& nadal's whip like extreme topspin groundstrokes provide the much needed juice for that . Combine that with his physical prowess & sheer agility & you have a world class athlete who never says never.

Remember,this is world class tennis , & in world class tennis ,anything can happen on any given day . A player can wake up one fine day & say " I feel like beating the world no. 1 today " ( safina vs. sharapova ) , or say " If spaniards feel they're good on clay , well , these are my home courts they're talking about " ..( Gael monfils vs david ferrer ) ..

Who will win ? Only time will tell . Keep your eyes peeled the next few days !

P.S. BTW,If you feel like goofing off in office ( taking a well deserved break,i mean ;-) ] watch it live on www.espn360.com ( if your cable provider has a tie up with that website eg charter ).. Hey , Isn't it neat ?!

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