Tennis Mental Edge Blog Home

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Resources Posted!

As the heavy tournament season of the summer has to come to an end it is a good time for players to be reflecting on their performances. This includes their performance in the mental game. Take this mental game quiz to evaluate your mental performances.

Mental Game Quiz

Then, check out the resources on the Resources page. I have added four new resources and will continue to add new materials.

And, as always feel free to contact me for advice or for setting up a formal consultation.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Does "Necessary Roughness" Paint an Inaccurate Picture of Sport Psychology?

USA Network has unveiled a new show "Necessary Roughness" that centers around a sport psychologist working with a football team. I am going to withhold judgement until I watch the show, but I think Dr. Cypher's review reveals some of the inaccurate perceptions that surround sport psychology.

Necessary Roughness Review Dr. Cypher

I will come back with a review on this show soon...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is Federer's Wilson Commercial the Public Perception of Sport Psychology?

When you think the words "sport psychology" what do you think? How does it make you feel?
I am joking; not trying to psychoanalyze you over the web.

Sport psychology, performance enhancement, mental toughness, tennis psychology, mental skills, the mental game... whatever you want to call it is getting more attention these days. Sam Stosur credited her psychologist after winning the US Open. This is good news for the field and for me! (It's always about me!)

Being serious now, sport psychology is becoming more mainstream. However, is the public perception of what sport psychology is accurate?

Maybe you have not seen the Wilson commercial with Roger Federer and his "tennis ball couch" or the other ones to follow that star Serena and Venus Williams, but it is a funny parody of sport psychology done by Wilson. 

Federer the Sport Psych Guy Wilson Commercial

For most this would be a "ha-ha" and forget about it thing. However, I won't leave it be. As much as I enjoy this commercial and the others put out by Wilson it makes me wonder what the perception of sport psychology is in our country and abroad.

The first question I have is what do people really think about sport psychology? Do they believe that is lying on a couch and talking about your dreams and childhood? The media with amazing consistency in sitcoms and dramas spin this image of psychology. And, you have the television therapists like Dr. Phil which I believe have helped the public realize the benefits of psychology, but also it comes off as being easier to do than it actually is for patient and therapist.

In truth psychology is practiced in many different ways - not always lying on a couch talking about your relationship with your mother (sometimes, however, this is exactly the issue the people need to deal with). Sport psychology, specifically, is often done on the court, in the locker room, before and after games. And, if the sport psych professional is also a coach they are doing sport psychology on the court during practice, and in college tennis, during matches.

Still, I wonder what the public thinks...

Sport psychology is not about constantly psychoanalyzing every communication or all situations. I remember a friend that I was out to dinner with jokingly asking me to tell him what he was feeling based on his body language. I fired back that he must not be too interested in the conversation because he was leaning back on his chair with his arms crossed! This became a running joke for us, but he understood that a sport psychology consultant can have interactions where he (me in this case) is not constantly trying to overanalyze and break down the other person's behavior.

For me, and many others in the field, sport psychology is about developing trusting relationships and helping people reach their goals. And, like a coach, many times that means just being there for the athlete and not trying to do too much. And, it is most effective when it's done in the athletes' environment and when they need it the most.

Is sport psychology useful to tennis players? Please take a moment and answer the poll question. You know what I believe obviously but I would like to have your opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nadal and Djokovic New Level of Defense because of Training

Why are Nadal and Djokovic the top players in the world? I would suggest their ability to play defense, retrieve, get every ball back, and then transition from defense to offense in one shot is a major factor. So many times I have seen both of these guys hit passing shots and flat-out winners from 10 feet behind the baseline.

The edge they are getting on the field is not luck or necessarily all genetics. Nadal and Djokovic have put in the work to be able to play incredible defense. Check out this article from the Washington Post prior to their Wimbledon final. It highlights why these guys have separated from the field.

Nadal Djokovic New Breed Washington Post

Let me remind you that training and preparation are foundational factors in the development of a highly confident tennis player that is performing at a championship level. So, while this piece focuses on the physical aspects of performance and how it has elevated the level of play, do not overlook the confidence that is gained from having the ability to retrieve and hit with power and accuracy ball after ball after ball. Your shot tolerance can be real high if you are in great shape!