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Little Things Lead to Big Things: The Mentality of a Champion

By Dr. Jorge Valverde Doing the things we don’t like to do, but that we must do, is the key to real progress in tennis and in life. Doing the little things that we must do, but do not enjoy, will eventually allow us to do the big things that we want to do. It’s the seemingly insignificant tasks, the daily effort that is the key to our success. It’s commitment with discipline at its core. Nothing worth attaining is ever easy; the bigger the goal, the more the obstacles. On a daily basis we must be willing to work through life’s challenges; otherwise, we should not expect to reap its rewards. Having an injury, for example, can be the source of a lot of frustration … or joy. Learning to embrace adversity is learning the trait of champions, in sports and in life. Those that overcome adversity are inspired by something bigger than themselves. Real champions are not motivated by monetary gains, rankings, trophies, status or fame. They realize that all those things are temporary. Inspired by dreams and noble ideas, they venture out on a journey to conquer what others will not. They realize that the most important journey is to conquer the inner mountains of fear and cross the bridges that lead to uncharted territories. Real champions dream big, because the alternative it is not an...

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Concentration is in your eyes

By Dr. Jorge Valverde Great champions develop the ability to stay focused for long periods of time regardless of the challenges they face. High levels of concentration take place only when athletes develop the habit of controlling their eye movement. Martial arts masters, yogis and the monks in Tibet are capable of achieving high levels of concentration by controlling their eye movement. Modern scientists have now discovered the reasons why eye movement is related to high levels of concentration. Research shows that when you focus your eyes on an object that is 12 to 18 inches away from you, your brain wave activity and your heart beat decreases. When your brain wave activity decreases, you achieve mental clarity and you reduce muscle tension. Both, mental clarity and optimal muscle tension are keys for peak performance. Observe the eye movement of great tennis champions, from Billy Jean King to Pete Sampras, Andre Aggassi, Roger Federer, Stephi Graf, Martina Navratilova and many others like Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova when they are performing at their best. All these champions have developed the habit of controlling their eye movement. When your eyes are focused, you achieve mental clarity and relaxed intensity. However, the opposite is true: when you look at those sitting in your box, when you argue with the umpire, when you become upset, when you dwell on your mistakes or...

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Persistence

Dr. Jorge Valverde “I press on toward the goal to win the prize . . . ” Philippians 3:14 Success is a journey, and persistence is one of the keys to success. Persistence is enjoying the journey that lies between where you are now and where you are going. Don’t wait for tomorrow to enjoy the rewards that you hope for. Instead, enjoy today the person you’re becoming and the talents that you have. Persistence is never giving up, never giving up, never giving up! It is always too soon to quit. Persistence is going to the place where you failed before to try again. Persistence means not dwelling on what others think. Persistent people take action and don’t make excuses. Persistent people don’t doubt and don’t play the blame game. Persistence means that you don’t do anything for others’ approval. Persistent people have the habit of doing things that failures do not like to do. Persistent people do not like doing them either, but their dislike is subordinated to the strength of their purpose. If you have allowed yourself to develop a habit of making excuses for doing less than your best, make a commitment to change today. Without persistence your dreams are an illusion. Persistent people face the jungles of life with the heart of a lion. Persistence means flying high like an eagle in the middle...

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On the Way to the Mountaintop

By Dr. Jorge Valverde – A mental coach specialized on tennis Enjoying the journey to the top is possible when we focus on each step along the way. There is time for everything, and now is the time to live the intensity and excitement of the process of achieving your goals. Forget about the “some day” philosophy. This is the idea that we will be happy when we obtain or achieve something that we have not obtained or achieved up to this point, that is: “When I have a new car,” “When I win a tennis championship,” “When I have somebody to love me ‘forever.'” In other words, we believe that when that moment finally arrives “everything will be perfect in our life.” The fact is that happiness does not come from things that happen to us. Happiness is a way of life, a realization of who we are while handling our everyday challenges and circumstances. So, if you are planning on being happy when you get to the top, you must start by being happy now while you are on the way there. At this point, one of the most important things mentally is the development of a strong belief in yourself and your ability to concentrate. Concentration means avoiding distractions. A distraction is anything that detours you from the path that takes you to greatness. Here are...

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Michael Chang – competitive Asian American and the footwork master

French Open Championship In the 90s American tennis boomed because of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and… Michael Chang. He used to say: “For me, I think the Lord wanted me to win to put a smile on Chinese people’s faces.” And now Chang is most known of two things – he is the youngest Grand Slam Champion – at age of 17 and also that he is coach of Kei Nishikori the Japanese uprising star and already one of the most marketable player. In 1989, few people thought that young American named Michael Chang would beat the No. 1-ranked tennis player, Ivan Lendl, in the fourth round of the French Open and Stefan Edberg in the final. He beaten also young Pete Sampras in the second round 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.   25 years after Grand Slam victory in French Open   The Samurai But back in the days young Michael distinguished yourself playing his clashes by bigger extended tennis racquet and one of the best footwork on the tennis court ever. Besides he had superb forehand which given him enormous number of winners, good lob and well return. Chang implemented into the game of Kei new quality. “The Samurai” has got so far seven tournament titles and is ranked in ATP TOP 10 – close to Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic when we take into consideration the...

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BORIS BECKER SURPRISED BY DJOKOVIC COACHING APPOINTMENT BACKLASH: “I must have stepped on many toes in my life”

25 years after winning the US Open, Boris Becker is back on the ATP tour, as coach of the world’s number one player Novak Djokovic. Speaking to CNN’s ‘Open Court’, six-time Grand Slam winner Becker talks about his unexpected return to the court, in an interview to be broadcast on CNN International tonight, at 1730 BST. Becker tells CNN’s Don Riddell about the call from Djokovic, the decision to go back on the road, and his surprise at the public’s reaction to his appointment as the world number one’s head coach. He also talks about his relationship with Djokovic, as well as Djokovic’s loss at the Australian Open quarter-finals, and his victory at Wimbledon. On not being interested in coaching: Well I had a couple of phone calls -believe me the last couple years from a few players -but I didn’t think I was ready. I have a pretty successful second career which has nothing to do with tennis and nothing to do with sports. I was already on the road so many years – why bother? On getting the call from Novak Djokovic: When Novak called me in October, I was honored and I appreciated the fact that he remembered me and remembered that maybe I could bring something to the table that he doesn’t have yet. I considered going back on the road -but I wanted to...

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Interview with Magnus Norman – Stanislas Wawrinka’s coach and former world #2

“Coach is like a doctor!” By Jan Stanski What do you think what is the state of Swedish tennis in the world? What is your prediction for next years? I think Swedish Tennis has seen the low. We are on the way up again. More juniors starting to work hard and we have some decent results in the juniors. It’s not as good as a few years ago however. Norman, Edberg, Enqvist. Great names on the court in the past. Now in the coaching box. Why is that? I hope it’s not because we have nothing else to do..haha.. No, to be really honest I really don’t know. Swedes are in general very reliable and hardworking people and I think that are two important factors perhaps. How the workout in your tennis academy “Good to Great” look like? What are the plans for the future? At the moment we have about 40 players from different parts of Europe focused more on the Nordic and eastern parts. We have 10 full-time coaches traveling with the players and I’m pretty proud of our program. Our facilities are however not that great and we are currently planning to build a new tennis center with approximately 14 indoor courts and 10 outdoor courts, gym, accommodation and restaurant. Do you have your own role model coach you like to follow or imitate in some...

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Tips from Magnus Norman, Stanislas Wawrinka’s coach, and a former world No 2, on ‘How to change a player’s mentality’

Tips: -Appreciate that, at a high level, confidence is everything. “The mental aspect on the practice court is vital for player development.” -Before you build up a player’s confidence or belief, you have to read the player. “It’s different from player to player. Some players like to sit down and talk a lot. Some not. It takes time to change habits. But personally I like making changes. It’s very fascinating.” -You can change a player’s mentality quickly. But you need the player’s trust. And you need the player to want to change. “It depends on the trust and the relationship between the coach and the player, and how much the player is ready to change. Sometimes this can be done quickly, and sometimes it will take a longer period of time.” -Working on a player’s mental approach becomes more important as the player improves and reaches a higher level. “The importance depends on the level and age of the player. When you coach younger players this is less important. Then you work with basic movement patterns as well as technical things. If you’re coaching a player in the top 100 it becomes more important.” -Recognise that there are no mistakes while you are trying to make changes to a player’s mentality. Source:...

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Six Ways for sports parents to set a great Example

Kid’s look up to adults for the example. They learn self-control by watching you display self-control. Like a coach who remains calm and in control, parents who exhibit good sideline behavior provide young athletes with an appropriate role model for handling the emotional ups and downs of competition. 1. Don’t only support your child – Try support the entire group or team. Instead of only focusing on your own child, try cheer and compliment the entire team. When you do this, you not only create a positive and healthy environment for your child, but for all. Andy Murray’s mother – Judy does this extremely well. 2. Practice good karma – what goes around comes around. Unless you have something positive to say, don’t talk negatively about other players, parents or coaches in front of kids or others. 3. Don’t Put Your Child on A Pedestal – Even if they are the star of the team, kids need to support one another and play as a team. Parents need to do the same. Encourage all, no matter what level they may be. 4. Applaud the other team too – Congratulate any good play. If kids see the adults applauding good plays made by the other team or child, they will be getting a very important message: that the game isn’t such a life-or death thing. It’s about FUN and effort...

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