tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:/posts Mike's Blog 2022-03-16T09:36:31Z Mike James tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1807712 2022-03-16T08:47:53Z 2022-03-16T09:36:31Z 6 keys on 'How to be a tennis parent' from Lynette Federer

Taken and adapted from a facebook post from South African tennis coach Frans Cronje.  Exclusive tips on how to be a tennis parent.

1.  It's important that the child enjoys the game and isn't forced into it

"I believe a child choses tennis because he or she is attracted and fascinated by the sport, and that could be through the parents, friends or family"

2.  Discipline is part of the game

"If a child wants to play tennis, then it means he or she has to go to practice and play matches and to behave properly at practice and during matches.  This is not always easy task as emotions play a big role, influencing behaviour and results.  If your child isn't behaving properly, I would not intervene during practice, but discuss it with the coach (afterwards)..In Roger's case, when his behaviour was poor during a match, I told him he was inviting or asking his opponent to beat him."

3.  Parents should go with the flow and not be too ambitious for their child

"The progress of a child can differ in the same age group - due to size, maturity and other factors - thus some children are inclined to progress faster than others in the beginning of their junior career and will later be surpassed by those who were weaker at an earlier age.  I believe parents should not be too ambitious for their child. Our role as a parent of a junior is to ensure they attend their practice, accompany them to their matches, motivate and comfort the child when necessary and most importantly of all, to ensure that the child enjoys the game, and not to put pressure on the child in any way."

4.  A child can start playing tennis from the age of three or four in playful manner

"Roger started at that age of three because my husband and I spent weekends at the tennis club and he just picked up the racket and loved playing against the wall, at home against the cupboard.  He could play for hours by himself. Later he played with friends on the road with a mini-tennis net and a soft ball"

5.  A parent plays a very important role

"Without the support and guidance of a parent it will be difficult for a junior to succeed.  

6.  These are the worst mistakes you can make as a tennis parent

"To force the child to play and to intervene too much"


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1768407 2021-12-08T18:52:44Z 2021-12-08T18:52:44Z Episode 8 of the Curious Cows podcast with Simon Wheatley, Coach Education and Player Development Consultant

Hello!

I'd be delighted if you are able to spend half an hour or so of your precious time listening to Episode 8 of the Curious Cows podcast with Simon Wheatley, Coach Education and Player Development Consultant.  Simon is the archetypal 'Curious Cow' constantly challenging herd wisdom in all he does.  Here we have a wide ranging discussion on the tennis (and particularly coaching) industry and with so much on the agenda we did it in two parts.

Here is part 1 (you can also find it on your favourite podcast app - google, apple, spotify)


Thank you so much,

Mike


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1765867 2021-12-02T09:19:22Z 2021-12-02T09:19:22Z What's in our control?

We often talk about 'control the controllables' right?

So what can we control?  Here's 10 for starters:

1.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back (open yourself up to the world)

2.  Keep showing up

3.  Judge less, encourage more

4.  Empty the tank (give 100% of what you've got on the day)

5.  Stick to your principles

6.  Keep listening and learning 

7.  Park the ego 

8.  Smile more

9.  Catch your self-talk (notice the language and change the tone)

10.  Run for every darn ball


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1765456 2021-12-01T09:00:43Z 2021-12-01T09:00:43Z Talking less about the winning

I follow 'The Daily Stoic - ancient wisdom for everyday life'.

Very much recommend it.

Lifted directly from yesterday's post:

'It's a strange paradox.  The people who are most successful in life, who accomplish the most, who dominate their professions don't care that much about winning.  Certainly they talk about it less.

How could that be?

It's that they are after something higher than that.  Their goal is to "be best".  Not the best, but best.  They're after mastery - self-mastery.  They're after maximising their potential.

Winning is like being rich.  It's nice, but it's not something in your control, day to day.  What is in your control is showing up, giving maximum effort, following your training, sticking to your principles, pursuing your calling.  It that translates to on the field success, great - in fact it almost always does.  If that translates into career recognition, awesome - and again, it usually does.  But sometimes so does the opposite of those things.

So that's why we, as Stoics, hold ourselves to a higher standard.  We measure ourselves with an internal scorecard.  Trusting in that, we know the rest will take care of itself.'


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1764064 2021-11-27T07:52:51Z 2021-11-27T07:52:51Z The difficulty in 'climbing'

Reaching a personal summit involves a climb.  

As does achieving any goal.

A goal wouldn't be a goal if it wasn't a genuine stretch and not just the logical next step.

So you gotta get your thermos, boots, ropes, harness, carabiners and start.

And tip number 1 is....

Stop looking at everyone else....the climb itself is tough enough.



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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1763050 2021-11-24T09:54:44Z 2021-11-24T09:54:44Z Overcoming fear

One of our biggest fears is that of the 'unknown'.

But weirdly, that's why we compete.  Because we don't know the outcome.  

That's the attraction.

The buzz.

The nerves.

The feeling in the pit of the stomach.

The heavy legs.

The risk of 'loss'.

The fear of losing.

THIS 'fear' we have to embrace.

And how do we do this?

Well looking back to yesterday's post, let's start with 'standing up straight with your shoulders back!'

As Jordan Peterson says,'to stand up straight with your shoulders back is to open yourself up to the world.  You're not in a defensive crouch of a prey animal....but in a 'bring it on manner', not precisely combative, but let's say courageous. And your posture announces that.  It doesn't just announce that to other people, it announces that to yourself, and it can be one of those things that can start a virtuous cycle occurring.'

Just so happens of course that courage is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of it.

The first few lines of 'everyball' read:

'We are committed to fight for everyball, to run down everyball, and to play everyball with courageous purpose.'

May today be filled with courageous purpose for you.







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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1762286 2021-11-22T08:18:24Z 2021-11-22T08:18:24Z Some thoughts on 'winning'

You play the game to win. 

Yes, that's the objective of most games.

But how we 'play to win' becomes so very important.

So while you play, play in a way so that you get better at playing the game.

You want to push yourself because that's how you get better, so you need 'competition' to push yourself.

You need the risk of loss.

But here's an even better way of thinking about it....you play the game so you don't only get better at the game, but that you get better at the entire set of games (life).

And that's what you do when you are a 'good sport'.

You want to be pushed so that you will make the effort necessary to remove what's useless about yourself and to help foster the growth of what's useful.

And if you do that, then you get the joy of participating in the game towards victory, but the extra joy of building yourself more and more strongly at the same time.

Life is not a game.  It's a series of games, a series of diverse games.

So,

Play nobly.

Pay attention to your team-mates.

Respect your opponent(s)..

Pass the damn puck (ice-hockey) so they get a chance to score.  

Even if you are the best player on the team, help your team-mates develop.

Don't grandstand.

If you have the opportunity to beat your opponent 20 to 1 in goals, maybe after you are up 7-1, back off a bit.

You don't have to humiliate your opponent.

(From Jordan Peterson - Rule number 1 ' Stand up straight with your shoulders back')

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?)v=RJe4m12sud0&t=290s

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1742133 2021-09-30T11:21:42Z 2021-09-30T11:24:12Z Wanting the 'outcome' but not prepared to be part of the 'process'

I think I picked this up from a recent Judy Murray post somewhere on social media.

The idea that we might be wanting the outcome but not being prepared to be part of the process.

I love the idea of being able to play the guitar - an outcome.  

So I tried it.

Once.

I was horrible. My sausage fingers got in the way.  It was hard.

So I quit.  I was not prepared to stick at the process.  Even for a second session!  I clearly didn't want it 'that' badly.

So how badly do you want it?

Whatever your 'outcome goal' is?

Are you prepared to hit that basket of serves 3 times a week, off you own back, when the wind is blowing a gale it and it's crappy out?

That extra run, session in the gym, skipping rope, warm-up/cool down with quality? 

Eat well. Rest well?

Are you prepared to sacrifice?

Have you got the P.R.I.D.E?

The Personal

Responsibility

in 

Developing

Excellence.

And if you don't know what it takes, that's the job of the coach, the parent, the teacher - to show the way, to articulate the journey, to create the buy-in.

But ultimately, it's water and horses.




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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1741451 2021-09-28T15:51:19Z 2021-09-28T15:51:20Z When the possible outcome becomes too 'magical'

That's when pressure bears down on you too hard.

When the possible outcome becomes too magical.

There's too much attached to it.

It's too loaded.

It leads to a desperate, panicky energy where it's tough to listen to the right inner voice.


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1710338 2021-07-04T08:08:26Z 2021-07-04T08:08:26Z Episode 7 of the Curious Cows Podcast with Matt Rogan author of 'All To Play For - How Sport Can Reboot our Future' So pleased to speak with Matt Rogan on episode 7 of the Curious Cows podcast. Matt and I have a wide ranging conversation about sport & the business of sport in which he shares his extensive experience. We also talk about his newly launched book 'All To Play For - How Sport Can Reboot our Future' which already has had fantastic reviews and I very much recommend it goes to the top of your reading list in this amazing summer of sport!

If you are involved in sport at any level, be that as a parent supporting your child, a coach, an athlete/player, or involved in sports governance and administration whether in a professional or volunteer capacity or even finally just an armchair supporter this is a MUST read!

You can download the podcast on all your normal outlets including Apple & Spotify or on the link here:

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1704383 2021-06-17T13:20:39Z 2021-06-17T13:20:39Z Episode 6 of the Curious Cows podcast with former junior tennis star Matt Brown, now high performer on Wall Street

I'm delighted to announce episode 6 of the Curious Cows podcast is now available to listen to via your favourite podcast app or this link:


Matt Brown - the story of an international standard junior tennis player who shared the court and tour with the likes of Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal, but didn't make it....on the tennis court at least.  After a career ending injury whilst at Baylor University, Matt used his academic education and experience from sport to forge a hugely successful career on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs in New York City.  Hear his inspiring story in this new episode of the Curious Cows podcast.

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1681371 2021-04-21T13:32:09Z 2021-04-22T15:20:25Z The story of the Curious Cow - episode 5 of the Curious Cows podcast

Here's episode 5 of the Curious Cows podcast in which I tell the story of....The Curious Cow!  (It's a 7 minute listen ;-)

A number of listeners to this podcast have asked, 'why Curious Cows?', so I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell the story of the 'Curious Cow' as a metaphor for the simple premise that we have a choice in life between being fenced in all our lives by herd wisdom or challenging it and its associated limits and barriers.  And that's the main thread of this podcast - talking to people who are approaching life with a 'curious cow' attitude, who are walking to the beat of a different drum, thinking differently and outside the box.

https://curiouscows.buzzsprout.com/

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1667833 2021-03-19T12:48:58Z 2021-03-25T11:40:14Z Episode 4 of the Curious Cows Podcast with Dressage coach Ian Cast & his amazing journey with Charlotte Dujardin

Meet Ian Cast - Dressage coach, confidante, best friend, and mentor to Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin.  Hear his story from taking Charlotte on as a teenager and their journey together through to Gold at the London Olympics in 2012, Rio in 2016 and hopefully on to Tokyo this summer. Ian has some superb insights into coaching at both a recreational and high performance level, and his passion for his trade and sport shine through.

Please follow this link to listen and also look out shortly for the Curious Cows podcast via Apple & Spotify:

https://curiouscows.uk/podcast/episode-4-ian-cast-on-dressage-and-an-olympic-heroine


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1660585 2021-03-02T08:06:32Z 2021-03-02T08:06:33Z Episode 3 of the Curious Cows Podcast with inspirational coach Jemima King

You may enjoy listening to the next episode of the Curious Cows podcast, a conversation with inspirational tennis coach Jemima King.

Jemima is the County Performance Officer for Buckinghamshire Junior Tennis.  She is an inspirational coach and role model for girls in sport whilst also being a huge advocate for the female coaching journey. 

As a player she played U.S College Tennis at Boise State, becoming their most decorated ever doubles player, but also was instrumental in leading Bucks Ladies to their first ever Division 1 'County Week' title. 

Listen to how she balances out motherhood and coaching, her Fed Cup Trip to Argentina with Judy Murray in 2012,  and what 'performance' means to her.  She concludes with her 3 key qualities/values that she seeks to live up to everyday.

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1654873 2021-02-16T19:28:19Z 2021-02-16T19:28:19Z Curious Cows podcast episode 2 - a conversation with former member of the British Bobsleigh Team Scott Allaway
Hello friends,

Delighted to announce episode 2 of the Curious Cows podcast - a conversation with Scott Allaway. Scott is a former member of the TeamGB Bobsleigh Team and went on to become its Commercial Director between 2010 and 2014. His work in this role took the team to the Winter Olympics in Sochi where their 4 man crew finished 5th - later upgraded to an Olympic Bronze Medal after the Russian doping scandal which disqualified the two Russian sleds which finished ahead of GB.

Throughout this time Scott was, and continues to be, a very successful businessman applying lessons from sport into business and visa versa in equal measure. His enthusiasm, humour and ability to break through barriers (if he even sees them!) will no doubt inspire you as you listen to his story.

You can access the podcast via this link and hope you enjoy listening to it should you have the time and inclination!

https://curiouscows.uk/podcast/episode-2-scott-allaway

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1649558 2021-02-04T16:49:12Z 2021-02-04T16:50:37Z Our first Curious Cows podcast available now! The fall and rise of Halton Tennis Centre

Delighted to say our first 'Curious Cows' podcast is up and available now to listen.

Simply click on the link below.  I very much hope you can listen to it and enjoy what you hear.

My very best,

Mike

https://curiouscows.uk/podcast/episode-1-the-fall-and-rise-of-halton

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1648256 2021-02-01T20:00:57Z 2021-02-01T20:00:57Z Listen to our first 'Curious Cows' Podcast this Wednesday!

Hello friends of Everyball,

I am delighted to announce that we are releasing our first 'Curious Cows' podcast this Wednesday! 

The aim of the podcast is to inspire our listeners to ‘win’ through learning from each other via a series of talks with those with a 'story to tell' throughout the Chiltern area from a variety of different disciplines, most commonly with a sporting link.

Winning of course requires some definition and for us at ChILDS (The Chiltern Institute of Learning, Development and Sport) it is simply to develop ourselves, our organisations and people to ‘better our best’ on a daily basis through adopting the deep child-like curiosity to learn. In essence we seek to challenge 'herd wisdom' by becoming 'curious cows'!

ChiLDS itself has grown out of our work at Halton Tennis Centre where I am Director of Tennis, so it seems only fitting that our first podcast is an interview with Nick Leighton and John Walker - the architects of an amazing sporting and business recovery from nearly being boarded up and shut down in 2000, through growing into what now many call one of the finest examples of a tennis centre/club in Great Britain.  

Episode 1 'The fall and Rise of Halton Tennis Centre' will be released this Wednesday via our curiouscows website.

Many thanks,

Mike




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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1641392 2021-01-18T08:06:27Z 2021-01-18T10:05:45Z Everybody's got a plan until you're punched in the face

'Everybody's got a plan until you're punched in the face' - Mike Tyson (allegedly)

And we're gonna get punched in the face - perhaps not literally but the blows will come, of that there's no doubt.

So I guess it becomes all about how we take the punches and respond.

Roll with them.

Bend to them.

Like trees in a storm, bending but unbroken.

And build in some flexibility to your goals - the twists of nature, of fate, those things outside our influence and control inevitably come into play.

That is resilience.



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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1640302 2021-01-15T08:57:50Z 2021-01-15T08:57:50Z The opportunity will come

The opportunity will come.

Perhaps when you least expect it.

All the more reason to have your ducks in a row.

To be ready and prepared.


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1640003 2021-01-14T10:01:45Z 2021-01-14T10:01:46Z Ambiguity is the enemy to developing so many (coaching) relationships

Define the standards.

Define the expectations.

Define the roles and responsibilities.

Then we know where we stand and can move forward.


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1624233 2021-01-13T07:59:27Z 2021-01-13T07:59:27Z Determined versus desperate

There tends to be a calm calculation behind determined.  Roll the sleeves up and bear down on the problem.

A focused energy into a strategic plan where head and heart work together towards achieving the objective.

Desperate on the other hand is back against the wall stuff- emotional, fight or flight in a crisis. There can be power in desperation.

Sometimes situations require a determined response, sometimes desperate.  

But desperate is not sustainable over the longer-term.  Go to that well too often and you'll find it dry.



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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1639165 2021-01-12T14:42:13Z 2021-01-12T20:45:29Z Blame removes that ability to do anything about it!

That's the thing about taking responsibility.

It means you can still be part of the solution.

Blaming others, making excuses, finding fault removes this ability alongside any learning that could have taken place.

Taking 100% responsibility for the situation, regardless of it being in or out of our control, keeps us in on the action.  It keeps us in the fight, in the arena.

And of course in the arena is the subject of this fabulous quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”





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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1632742 2020-12-28T08:28:34Z 2020-12-28T08:28:34Z Wherever you go, you always take yourself with you!

Wherever you go, you always take yourself with you!

That's a fair old truth.

We can change our environment, move house, buy a new car, new clothes, whatever.

But we've never been anywhere we haven't been.



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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1630943 2020-12-23T07:01:20Z 2020-12-23T17:37:22Z Goal setting for 2021 and beyond

Perhaps this year of any year has told and taught us a heck of a lot.

Life will continue to do its thing...regardless of the goals we set, and the 'control-ables' we think we can control.

Perhaps it might just be more 'healthy' right now to not project ourselves into the future.   Not to set that S.M.A.R.T goal.

Because so often by doing that, we miss out on the 'present'.

And while the present is not as we wish it would be, it is still filled with opportunity and fascination.  Just not in the direction we might have been looking.

(Reference/ideas from Derren Brown's 'Happy')

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1630609 2020-12-22T07:34:35Z 2020-12-22T07:34:35Z Blind spots

Blind spots.

We all have them.  What is it we don't see?

As Schopenhauer wrote: 'Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.'

As coaches, we need to bear in mind what lens we see things through.  The lens of a 'technician', or a 'tactician', or do we see more of the 'performer', the mental and the physical.  When assessing a player/athlete we select, delete and generalise.  We can't take it all in at once so we tend to see what we want to see, what we are conditioned to see, and so often can miss the rest.

Know your blind spots...because it's there that we might miss something vital.

Bring another coach alongside you - ask them, 'what do you see here?'.  This is one of the reasons I'm so grateful to be involved in a team environment with a fantastic group of coaches who are all prepared to ask the question.

It's not a sign of a lack of knowledge or expertise.  Simply that we recognise our human condition and two sets of eyes are better than one!

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1630210 2020-12-21T08:17:21Z 2020-12-21T10:26:03Z The stories we tell ourselves

When you fail or feel like a failure.

When we think we're 'no good' in a particular situation, at a particularly subject or task.

Sometimes we're even told we're no good.

These then become the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. 

And we start to believe them and in turn develop a 'learned helplessness'.

We become skilled at living out these stories, acting out the 'helpless role' when we are faced with that situation again.

Until we give ourselves permission to change our story.

To act differently.

To act out of character.

(from Derren Brown's 'Happy')

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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1629590 2020-12-19T14:33:21Z 2020-12-19T14:33:21Z You can't 'magic' a performance out of nowhere

Ok, we might get away with one now and again.

A performance out of the blue, when stars align and fortune is on your side.

When the work hasn't yet been done.

But it will serve you well if you treat this as a truth:

You can't magic a performance out of nowhere.

The work has to get done.

And this WILL take time.  

It means delaying gratification.

But of course we live in an instant world now, so where time investment was once seen as a precursor to success, now it appears just a curse.



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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1629177 2020-12-18T07:18:11Z 2020-12-18T07:18:11Z Positive avoidance

Positive avoidance basically suggests avoiding situations, places, events that could cause unnecessary worry, anxiety, or just be plain harmful.

It's smart for example for a recovering alcoholic to avoid the pub.

If there is positive avoidance I guess there must also be negative avoidance.  Avoiding situations that may cause a level of discomfort but by entering into them there is the potential to grow, to become more resilient, to ultimately flourish.

And sometimes it's just plain obvious. 

If you want to be a mountaineer, at some point you gotta start climbing mountains.


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1625758 2020-12-17T07:52:33Z 2020-12-17T15:55:00Z Not the events that happen to you, but the interpretation of them

Same event, different interpretations.....

It's not the fact but how you react.


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Mike James
tag:coachingbymike.uk,2013:Post/1628255 2020-12-15T20:47:04Z 2020-12-15T20:47:04Z The 3 pressures - do you know what they are?

The 3 pressures.

1.  The pressure of being the 'favourite'

2.  The pressure of a 'pop corn' match - you don't know which way it's gonna go

3.  The pressure of being the underdog

Most would agree the underdog is the least of these 3 pressures, the most when having the 'favourite' tag.

Yet, so much of what is desired in training is about 'hitting up' (tennis lingo for playing against stronger opposition), in essence practicing being the underdog.

How about developing the ability to play as the favourite....to practice your attacking skills, learning to boss the court, develop the appropriate coping skills to deal with the added expectation that you 'should' win.




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Mike James