Because the weather has been so dang cold lately, I've had a lot of my tennis matches cancelled. But just because I can't get out and play tennis, doesn't mean I'm not working on my tennis. I've pulled out some of my favorite tennis books to go through and the one I'm really loving right now if Jeff Greenwald's The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance. In this episode, I'll tell you what I get out of this book and why I think you'll benefit from it too. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: tennisfixation.com/itunes.
It's so cold outside that I'm not getting to play tennis matches. But, while I'm stuck at home, I'm trying to improve my game by re-reading some of my favorite tennis books. One I'm going through right now is Jeff Greenwald's The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance.
I'm very lucky in that I've actually met Jeff Greenwald and attended some of his sports psychology sessions during the last two years when I attended the Tennis Congress. Jeff is a nationally recognized sports psychology consultant who works with players from all over the world on their mental game. He specifically works with tennis players at all levels, including very high-level professional players. And, by the way, he himself has played some incredible tennis, being ranked number one in the world by the ITF in the men's 35 age division and number one is the United States in both singles and doubles in 2001.
So the two sessions I attended with him were just incredible. I got quite a bit out of them since my mental game happens to be an area that I know needs improvement. I'm not as bad off as I was when I first started playing the game but that is due in large part to some of the work I've put in after reading books like The Best Tennis of Your Life.
What I most like about this book is that the chapters are short and very specific. It's easy for you to read the chapter titles in the index and then focus in on the chapter that applies to the mental issues you find yourself continually bringing to court. One of my favorite chapters, because it really applies to my game, is Chapter 18 called “Leave Your Expectations Off The Court.” In this chapter, Jeff gives some great advice:
The tendency is to get down on yourself and feel disappointed that you aren't playing the way you know you can. You start thinking more about what isn't working and wonder what to do now. Your brain goes into overdrive, and you get caught in your head. Avoid this track. Stop analyzing. Refocus on the task at hand. Recall what your best strokes look like. Just accept what is and see if you can relax your body. More than likely, it is the tension in your body and your busy mind that are causing you to miss your shots in the first place . . . .
I try to apply this advice during my matches because, when I'm able to do it (which is not every time), I usually can refocus enough to get back on track and into the match.
There's tons of good advice and information in this little book and I can't recommend it enough. And, if you have a chance to attend a Jeff Greenwald session, I highly recommend that too!
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