Posts by Administrator

Learning to Play with More Freedom

Before I transformed my mind and approach to competitive tennis I had a pretty rigid view of my game and place in the tennis rankings. Basically, my self-image reflected my past results and view on how I typically played in matches. Of course, as a result, if I was playing someone I knew was ranked

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Play with Gratitude

One of the best ways to replicate your best day on the court is to remember to be grateful for the moment you are in right now. We now have conclusive evidence from MRI scans of the brain and more dependable biofeedback procedures that show how a feeling of gratitude or deep appreciation can

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Are you Ready to Change?

One of my main objectives when I work with athletes is to help them deeply engage in the “process.” Most athletes understand the concept of an outcome focus vs. a process focus by now. However, actually doing it, committing to a particular process, regardless of the outcome is far from easy. There is a big

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5 Rules to Close the Gap Between Parents and Athletes

Nearly 35 million children and adolescents participate in organized youth sports in the United States. Thirty-five percent of these same children say they will likely quit the following year. In the United States, youth participation in organized sports has dramatically increased over the past 25+ years from approximately 18 million children in 1987 to 60

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Fearless Tennis Series: Introduction

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. Even though by some standards I was excelling in the game, for years I had felt as though I wasn’t tapping my potential. How did I know this? I would hold back on my shots when the score became close. I would miss my best shots that I made in

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Closing Out Matches

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. “We had it. It was mine. I can’t believe it. What happened? I blew it. I choked. Aaargh.” Matches at all levels are lost every day because players are unable to “close it out.” Pros, juniors, college players, and competitive league players confront this challenge universally. Interestingly, in many ways,

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Utilizing Wisdom in Your-On-Court Arsenal (Part I)

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. “I’m more relaxed now.” I’m finally enjoying the game.” I’m smarter now.” I feel the ball better than I ever have. I know what my strengths are and don’t beat myself up when I miss.” “I am convinced that my best day today would beat me on my best day

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Riding the Wave of Momentum

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. When it comes to athletic competition, everyone talks about momentum — psychological momentum, when everything is moving in the right direction for one competitor or another. As I write this, Pete Sampras has won 24 consecutive matches and is moving toward his 13th Grand Slam, the most in tennis history

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Utilizing Anxiety to Obtain Peak Performance

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. You will not find a successful athlete who does not become anxious before competition. Most athletes, including Michael Jordan, will tell you that if they aren’t nervous before a big game, they know they have problems. Pre-match anxiety is highly normal and critical to peak performance. This psychological experience is

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Utilizing Wisdom in Your-On-Court Arsenal (Part II)

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. Smarter Strategy, Better “Feel” Many veteran players who still coach and compete simply believe they have better feel for the ball. Mark Farren, Director of Sleepy Hollow Tennis Club in Orinda and former world-ranked player, described it to me this way: “Now, I know what I do well. I know

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Learning to Play “Loose” in a Result-Oriented Society

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. What is the first question players are asked after a match? “How did you do?” Most players, shaped by the standards set in our society, naturally respond, “I won” or “I lost.” Usually, this is the end of the conversation. Unfortunately, the communicated message is that winning is what counts.

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The Pathway to the Zone

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. There appears to be a universal consensus that the “zone”-the mind-body connection that invariably produces our best and most relished performances-is, for most of us, an elusive place. In fact, the harder we try to “get there,” the less chance we have of arriving there. So, this precious state has

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Loneliness to Fearlessness

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. From the moment my mother pulled away, at the age of 12, as I stared out of the academy’s motel window with tears streaming down my face, I began my intimate relationship with loneliness—an experience we all face from time to time as a competitive tennis player. So much has

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Five Lessons Learned From a Match Almost Lost

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. Interclub play in some European nations is unlike anything in the United States. The level of play is extremely high; matches are fiercely contested and draw large crowds of supporters. Clubs woo players with money and free housing and often cars – results really matter. German clubs, especially, care greatly

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Prepare for the Zone

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. Many recreational and competitive tennis players talk about the “zone” – that magical day when the ball appears larger than usual, the court wider, and confidence is overflowing. This experience eludes most players and is typically discarded because of its elusive nature. It comes and goes, and rarely stays long.

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Where’s Your Focus

Research shows that the better you become the less you tend to focus on the end result. Instead focus on performance, the process of HOW to achieve that outcome.

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The Greenwald Interviews: Playing Without Fear

By Jeff Greenwald, M.A., MFT. A great deal has been written about the mental game of tennis; yet despite all the books, articles, and videos, players still come on the court and play scared. Why? What’s going on? Why do so many players do incredibly well in practice and then play differently, tentatively in matches?

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Embracing Uncertainty: The Hallmark of Success and Peak Performance

Today, I met with a very accomplished tennis player, who also happens to be in the world of finance. In our meeting he described how his body would go physiologically haywire right before the announcement of a companies’ earnings—nausea, constricted throat, diarrhea, even cold sweats at night. This physiological reaction was similar, he said, to

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Is Anger Always a Bad Thing?

Have you ever wondered why you can perform a little better when you’re angry? You know, your opponent calls the ball out because he really wants it to be out. But, you know it was on the line. Certainly, many players can come unraveled and stew over the injustice.

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The Courage to be Loose

Those of you who have listened to my CD program, Fearless Tennis, or have read my book, The Best Tennis of Your Life, know that I am passionate about pushing the envelope when it comes to playing “loose.” Okay, fine. Maybe a bit obsessed. But this newsletter is not only about how to get loose.

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The Power in a Word

I’ve spent weeks working with a player helping him to gradually shift toward a more “process-focus” where he is less influenced by who he is playing and what might happen. He seems to be getting it and demonstrates insight into how focusing on things outside his control is counterproductive. Nevertheless, a week after our last

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Any Spirit in your Game?

Today I was thinking about spirit. And, of course, as I often try to do, I wanted to apply this concept and experience of spirit into the context of sports. I know many people who find my work happen to be athletes, many of whom are tennis players, but as I am sure you know,

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Coaching the Inner Athlete

Over the past 17 years that I have been working with athletes and their families I have discovered three common characteristics that help athletes succeed. I will discuss these themes in this blog and subsequent posts. The inner game feels like a mystery a lot of the time doesn’t it? We read books on the

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A Perspective on Winning and Losing

In a recent recap of the 2012 Wimbledon Andre Agassi acknowledged how winning his first and only title there (1991) felt more like relief than anything else. “For me,” he said, “winning Wimbledon didn’t seem to last nearly as long as losing did.

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Belief Runs Deep

The jockey who came from behind and rode Union Rag to the Belmont crown today, believed his horse could win it, despite its failure to win in the past. So did its owner, a woman who had sold Union Rag, then relented and bought the horse back for three times the cost. Maria Sharapova never

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