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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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In his enormously popular book, The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Scott Peck states that change is hard. Depending on what it is you are wanting to change, this can be true. Over time, however, I have come to believe that this is not quite as hard as we often make it. Change gets a whole

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The other day I was on the court and a young player and after she missed a routine forehand groundstroke I asked her what happened. She tells me, “I hesitated at the last second. I wasn’t sure whether to go crosscourt or down the line.” I’ve been hearing this a lot lately–players doubting their choice

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What if the only barrier between where you are now and where you want to be is simply the lack of a specific plan? Perhaps there is a change you’ve been wanting to make on the court or in your own life but it continues to allude you. On some level, I think this was

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What’s one of the worst aspects of losing? The disappointment in yourself? Or, perhaps, worst of all, finally accepting the possibility and really believing that you CAN win, but then it doesn’t work out? I was working with a young squash player yesterday who admitted to me for the first time (and to herself) that

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There’s nothing like being in the middle of a tournament to help you get up close and personal with nerves. Thankfully I still play this great game so I can relate to all of you who get tight out there. Well, I’m playing the Finals of the 45 World Championship singles today as some of

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the differences in how players handle pressure. I talk to juniors and adults all week long about their experience in the game–what holds them back, how they worry about losing when ahead, not believing in themselves enough to beat someone they believe they could beat, worry about a

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Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of discussion about “the shot”–Djokovic’s forehand return winner at double match point down a few weeks ago in the Semis of the Open against Federer. I thought it would be useful to explore this moment in more depth to help all players benefit from this amazing scenario.

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In Andre’s autobiography, Open, he continually references Steffi’s attempt to help him get out of his head. “Feel, don’t think,” she would continually say to him. He scratched his head at first. What is she talking about? Finally, it dawned on him that being present and out of his head was a secret he had

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Do you find that you get stuck in old mental habits–worrying about whether you will win or lose, getting frustrated with your errors, feeling tense? Someone once told me never to tell students that something is hard to do. I disagree. Breaking old mental habits, based on all of our past conditioning, IS hard. Being

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Mastering your time between points must include, at times, some tactical or technical goal–that is, how you want to play the next point. And stage three would be the time to do it. You’ve already directed your attention away from thoughts or judgment about the last point and focused your eyes on something external

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Finally, stage four is the most basic of all. Focus your attention on the spot while serving or the ball when returning. You may think you are doing this, but too often, players are internally distracted and are actually not focused on the ball. You need to get connected and absorbed into the ball. You

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So, I’ve talked about getting out of your head after the point is over and putting your attention into your body—an internal focus. As I said, this should be approximately 5 seconds or so. It will help keep you present and less vulnerable to the extraneous, unproductive thoughts that swirl around in your mind. The

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Did you know that only 20% of your time on the court is actually spent hitting balls? Were you aware that the remaining 80% of time in any given match is spent walking from one side of the court to the other, sitting on changeovers, or preparing for the next point? This time is ripe

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