Monday, May 16, 2011

'Staying in the Moment,' by Brent Abel ... And A Couple Of Other Important Points And Sugestions

This was a great short piece I saw on a tennis website, wherein it is a point I have empathized since I began coaching here, 'Staying in the Moment,' by Brent Abel,' see it cut and pasted at the bottom of this post. 'point by point concentration,' 'don't let the frustration of a lost point lose you the next two points,' etc ... these are points I strongly believe in. PLEASE READ IT.

Hopefully you'll get to use it's information tomorrow, if we get to play Red Bank Catholic, but with 90% chance of rain I am worried. Mr Mitchel is attempting to have the match moved indoors, and I hope to have an answer to you all tomorrow ... or lets hope it doesn't rain ... but check your emails in the late morning for an update.

I also found out that the Philadelphia Freedoms, of World Team Tennis, are having ball boys tryouts. I've been a ball person at handful of tournaments, including the 'US Open' and 'Virgina Slims of Philadelphia,' back in the day at the old Philadelphia Civic Center. I think it is a great way to connect to the sport and see it in a whole different light.

To be on court level with the best in world, and to see the speed and control they exhibit, is truly amazing and inspiring. I highly recommend this experience, and here is your opportunity. I also recommend you go see some of the action if you get a chance. Check the website below for ticket information and their schedule. The person in charge of the ball boys is also listed.

Philly Freedoms (cut and pasted from 'Freedoms' website)
Freedoms are holding ball kid tryouts, June 4th 12-1pm. ages 10-16 outside the Macy's in the King Of Prussia Mall! Hope to see you there!!

Ballkids Coordinator - Philadelphia Freedoms
Rose Weinstein - 610.265.7440 -

It seems Rob, who once held the 'Tennis Company Pro Shop' at the Cherry Hill Racquet Club is now at Green Valley, and strings racquets there from 10-7 daily. He can have your racquet re-strung within the same day. I just spoke to him and told him that I have a couple players who need re-stringing. I strongly recommend the RPM Blast.

Nick, Terry and Johnny use it, wherein I like the 17 gauge better because I get more feel. I just took my racquet to Dick's, with gift card, and I WILL NEVER do that again. Green Valley is less than a 1/4 mile from Paul VI. His information and phone number are pasted below. I love Steve and Everyone's Racquet, but we are pressed for time. I've been on a couple of you to take care of this.

New for the 2011 Summer Season...Green Valley Tennis Club welcomes The Tennis Company Pro Shop!

The Tennis Company Pro Shop
Green Valley Tennis Club
429 Crystal Lake Avenue
Haddon Twp., NJ 08033 856-869-3490

See the picture of over-wrap below. I've been using some cheaper Wilson over-wrap, but then I splurged the other day at Walmart and bought 'Tourna Grip' for $3.96 a 3 pack... and I felt like an idiot for ever going cheap on such. I've used the 'Tourna Grip' on and off for years... let's just say I'll never use anything but 'Tourna Grip' again. It is 'head over heels' the best over-grip on the market and the most popular one on either tour.

All our team members should over-grip their racquets at this point in the season, therein more frequently than I see they do ... DO THIS TO AVOID SLIPPAGE ON CONTACT THAT SWEAT AND DIRT BUILD-UP CAN CAUSE ... AND in light of starting the season with a new grip all together. Who read and followed that recommendation made here on the blog. It is suggested, by any major racquet manufacturer, to re-grip your racquet, from anywhere between three to six months, depending on how much you play.

A great shot I recently took with my camera, the other day at the Audubon laundromat. I'll call it 'A Tennis Coach Drying His Tennis Balls After A Rainy Session' .. enter laugh here!!!

The Hardest Thing To Do In Tennis
May 16, 2011 By Brent Abel

Learning stroke technique, the fundamentals of the swing, footwork, strategy, all of that, that’s the easy part.

The tough part about becoming a better competitive tennis player (which translates to simply winning more matches against players at your current skill level) is NOT thinking ahead into the future.

“Well, let’s see, if I win this point, then…”.

We get ahead of ourselves out there…

Between points we think about the consequences of winning and losing future points. We think about what our opponent might do with this shot we’re just about to play.

And during side changes, we think about what a great victory or a depressing loss this is going to be.

The thing that helped me become a better tennis player at the senior level was to find ways to fool myself into staying in the present.

Sounds so simple. But for me, and maybe also for you, the mental part of competing is way harder than improving my swing mechanics.

Here’s what I do in those 3 situations where we can get ahead of ourselves during a match.

* Between points – I go though my 4 part 20 second routine that I immediately start when a point is over.
* Side changes – I do a lot of singing to myself. Sounds goofy, but it helps me to not think into the future or dwell too much on the past. Towel, water, deep breaths, sing…
* Prior to making contact with the ball – This has far and away been the biggest challenge for me. Michael Wayman has helped me trust that I can stay in that moment of contact and not think the nano second of what if…
* And there’s actually a 4th situation which is before the match – I used to get all worked up about what if I lose to this guy or what if I get beat 0 and 0.

What’s worked for me is visualization off of the court.

I see those situations in my mind and act out how I want to be. I have to practice this regularly or else I tend to go back to living in the future when I play a match.

I have to fool myself sometimes especially between points after I’ve just blown an easy shot. Most of it is just acting a certain way.

But if I haven’t rehearsed how I want to act with the off court visualization, I usually don’t manage that time well.

So blah, blah, blah. Let’s get to work.

Take some dedicated time to rehearse exactly how you want to stay in the moment during those times we discussed above and NOT look out into the future.

How about you? What other times before or during a match do you tend to think into the future?

Right below in the Comments area, let us know. Thanks in advance…