The expression goes you are what you eat. In sports and in tennis you are what you focus on. If you focus on diagnosing your problem then the problem will occur more frequently because that’s what you are visualizing and thinking about. What you did wrong. You want to focus on the cure. Have the cure be your present. Have the cure be your primary focus and your secondary or peripheral focus should be the cause or problem or weakness or illness.
Rather than be a doctor who tries to determine what your illness is, focus on the medication. Say, for example, you are hitting your serve into the net. Rather than focus on that fact, focus on the placement of your toss. Placing the toss slightly “nearer” to you will open up the racquet face on contact, enabling the ball to clear the net. Pivot to the cure from the cause. Report to yourself where the serve is missing only long enough to find and focus on the right cure. Feel free to track where the misses are happening but only in the periphery of your awareness. But if you just try to diagnose your error for too long you will make more errors. You do need to be peripherally aware of the error but right away visualize and imagine the solution. But people and players and competitive athletes want to know what they did wrong. Focus on what you do right and when something goes wrong focus on what you need to do right.
In the third round of the 2018 U.S. Open Nick Kyrgios was playing against Roger Federer. In watching the match, I noticed that Nick was berating himself after missing some first serves. His serve broken for the first time in his last service game of the first set, losing 6-4. Several games AFTER he missed those serves, in the second set, he was muttering to himself about missing those serves in the first set. He had only lost one point on serve in his first 4 service games prior to his mental let down. He was focusing on the cause or problem: missed serves – rather than on the cure – toss adjustment perhaps. Not only that, but it showed he wasn’t staying present when he was playing. He was living in the past with a focus on the cause. Unfortunately, he never recovered from this line of thinking, losing in three straight sets.
And when you lose the first set to a front-runner like Federer typically it’s game over.
Rather than ask yourself or your coach “what did I do wrong” ask “what should I do right.”
Focus on your cures not on your problems and you’ll have a better outlook on and off of the court.
I always welcome feedback at angeloarossetti @ gmail .com. The above content is proprietary. Please ask me for permission to reference or use in any way. I’m a proud Wilson Advisory Staff Member.
You can learn more about a couple of tennis GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ that I have been a part of:
Our Inspiration – 2 World Records 2 Minute Video
FOX News Story
MSNBC News Story
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
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