My Book – TENNACITY: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court

If you are interested in my upcoming new book TENNACITY: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court, please complete the form below.

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My Book – TENNACITY: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court

Dynamic Win Probability

20181028_190808

1/3 = 100%

This equation may not seem correct. It isn’t correct to a mathematician but for high-level tennis players it most certainly is accurate.

Tennis has unique scoring. Even if you win more points or more games you may not win the match. Scoring isn’t cumulative for the entire contest like most sports. Every point is not created equal. Therefore, it’s not just how many points you win but which points you win that usually separates winning and losing. Having the right mindset before you start your point is critical to success in tennis. This match charting shows the win probability as a game goes on. Just like the Patriots in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons where their win probability fluctuated throughout the game and was anything but certain until the last play of the game, with the Pats winning 34-28. Tennis is the same way. When you are up, do what you did that got you there or put another way, “dance with the person who brought you to the dance.”

John Hopkins Krieger School of Arts & Sciences Dept of Biology Robert Schleif

 

Super Bowl LI win probability graph (via @ESPNStatsInfo)

If you are up 40-LOVE, then all you need to do is win 33% of the remaining points or one of the next three points and you will win the game 100% of the time. Likewise, when you’re up 40-15, then you just need to win 50% or one of the next two points to win the game 100% of the time. If you are at 40-30 then you need to win two of the next three points or 67% of the remaining points to win the game 100% of the time. And finally, when you are at deuce, you need to also win two of the next three points or 67% of the remaining points to win the game 100% of the time. This does not take into account the ability level of both players or teams nor does it consider a player’s particular strengths (either front-runners or players who play solid when down). But the importance in understanding this foundation fact for tennis scoring lies in your mindset approach to playing the point. For example, at 40-LOVE, going for an ace is overkill and quite frankly and unnecessary risk, contrary to popular belief. You just need to play with low risk, high win probability – just enough to win one of the next three points. This whole concept is where I like to say “Moneyball meets the Inner Game.”

Knowing the proper percentages to win points, games, and sets will win you matches. Your mindset dictates how you’re going to start playing the point. The same holds true for when you are down but that gets a bit more complicated. When you are down LOVE-40, then you need to win five of the next six points with the important caveat that you need to win three in a row to get to deuce. If you are down 15-40, then you need to win four of the remaining six points which includes the first two in a row as a necessity. Finally, when you are down 30-40, you must win three of the next four points including the first point as a must-win point.

This same metric holds true for the set score. If you are up five games to zero (5-0), then all you need is to win 20% of the remaining games or one of the next five to win the set 100% of the time. If you are up 5-1, then you just need to win one of the remaining four games of the set or 25% to close out the set 100% of the time. If up 5-2, then all you need to do is win 33% of the remaining points or one of the next three and you will win the set 100% of the time. Likewise, when you’re up 5-3, then you just need to win 50% or one of the next two games to win the set 100% of the time. If you are at 5-4 in the set, then you need to win two of the next three games or 67% of the remaining games to win the set 100% of the time (assuming you lost the first game). And finally, when you are at 5-5 you need to win two of the next three games (one “game” being the tiebreak) or 67% of the remaining games to win the set 100% of the time. This assumes nothing about player level.

Why is this so important? Because the human mind cannot maintain concentration for an entire tennis match. Knowing which points you need to really apply your focus on and also what to focus on at the beginning of these points will be critical to your success and a huge advantage for you. For example, taking risk when you are up for 40-0 would be unnecessary. Winning those games any less than 100% of the time would be unacceptable in my opinion. Knowing that you have to play in such a way that will win you 33% of the remaining points gives you the mindset to create a road map for victory.

If players think “I’m ahead, I have nothing to lose” then they will be sorely mistaken as you do have something to lose – the lead. When you are down is when you having nothing to lose as you will lose if you don’t change something. Current ATP Tour world #1 Novak Djokovic said “Tennis is a mental game. Everyone is fit, everyone hits great forehands and backhands.” I completely agree. Knowing what mindset to play with based on the game or set score is critical to your success.

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
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
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If you are interested in my upcoming new book TENNACITY: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court, please complete the form below.

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Dynamic Win Probability

Focus on the Cure not on the Cause

20180903_122352The 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
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
Make a Donation

If you are interested in my upcoming new book TENNACITY: The Success Mindset On & Off the Court, please complete the form below.

 

 

Focus on the Cure not on the Cause

Compete Like a Boa Constrictor Not a Rattlesnake

snake
A baby boa.

In life there’s a saying that patience is a virtue. In sports, be like a boa constrictor not a rattlesnake. You want to be patient and methodical and wear down your opponent. You don’t just want the quick strike. You want to be silently strategic and not warn your enemy when you are about to strike. In tennis, you want to move the ball side-to-side. Drop shot then lob. Pin your opponent by using your battering ram. Outlast your opponent. Silently build your strategy. Only pull the trigger when you’ve earned it. If you get lucky and hit the lines then you’re happy but not satisfied. You want to be satisfied with ensuring the victory. Ensure winning the point by setting up your shots and then closing out the point.

Hitting a great shot when you earned the setup shot is fine but randomly hitting a great shot, say from a defensive position, can be low percentage and quite frankly lucky. Hope is not a strategy. You don’t want to hit and hope. You want to know. You want to play aggressively consistent or consistently aggressive at 60% to 80% of your power level. You don’t want to be redlining at 100% all of the time because that’s a very high-risk strategy. The equivalent is for you card players out there, hitting in blackjack when you have 17. You want to hit when you have 11 for sure but you don’t want to hit when you have 17 because most of the time you will bust. If you get a four to put you at twenty-one, that was more luck and very high risk.

It’s the equivalent of when Magnus Carlsen, the youngest world champion chess player, plays chess. Although he attacks he has multiple combination moves and protects his King at all times. You want to have high percentage offense. You want to attack with your consistency. You want to attack with your mind. You want to have an offense that you can rely upon that will win you matches and win your points assuredly. When you are defending you are doing so with a purpose. Some people say that grinding it out is boring. I say winning isn’t boring. There are flashy shots that some players hit but those flashy shots over time would be extinguished with a tried-and-true, solid strategy. A rattlesnake quickly goes after their prey and it’s either hit or miss with the snake’s venom. Whereas a boa constrictor carefully and methodically constricts their prey from breathing and, over time, wins. That’s what you want in sports. You want to have high percentage plays to close out games and points rather than the quick winner or unforced error.

Tom Brady does it when quarterbacking for the New England Patriots. When he’s down he doesn’t just throw deep passes but, rather, he builds his offense around high percentage short passes. He goes for 2-point conversions only when absolutely necessary, like the two of them in Super Bowl LI.

You don’t want to show your hand with a rattle. You want to quietly produce a winning game plan. Play with patience. Play with purpose. Play like a boa constrictor not a rattlesnake, and you will win more often. And nothing against rattlesnakes.

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.

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
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
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Snake photo Creative Common License via https://freshideen.com/haustiere/schlangen-als-haustier.html?share=email
Compete Like a Boa Constrictor Not a Rattlesnake

The 0 / 100 Rule

The 0 - 100 Rule (c)
When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Ryan Reynolds

There’s a victory in letting go of your expectations.
Mike White

I’ve come up with The 0 / 100 Rule in coaching athletes and dealing with expectations from parents bestowed upon them. Even in my brother and my Guinness World Record attempts, this rule applied. It’s a way to reduce and eliminate frustration and focus on the controllables, like effort level. 0 stands for the expectation level and 100 stands for the % of effort. Going into any competition or contest, you should have zero expectations of the outcome because the outcome is not fully controllable by you. However, giving 100% effort during the contest is very much achievable. As a side bar, some athletes say that they want to give 110% effort, but there’s no such thing as something above 100%, as this is the highest capacity that you have. That simply means that your 100% was really 90% as your 110% is really 100%. But focusing on the controllable of the effort and reducing your expectations to nothing will reduce frustration because frustration is caused by the disparity of your expectation level and your level of performance. The difference is frustration. Whereas, if your performance level is higher than your expectation level, then you have confidence.

I’m not saying that if you have 0 expectations going into competition, that means you try less hard. On the contrary, you shift your focus to something that you can control, which is your effort. Now some would say that you need expectations in order to have achievement. I suggest that these are goals. Goal setting happens before competition not during it. Athletes would have goals set prior to the contest yet focus on the elements that they can control during the competition. Have a goal that you will win; having the belief that you will win and have the expectation that you will win are different things.

Effort is a controllable just like attitude, preparedness, sportsmanship, and teamwork. These are controllables. If you focus on the controllables, like effort, and you are aware that if your expectations are too high, you could have disappointment, you will have the right mindset for competition.

Mindset Moment

The irony about our world record in 2008 was that I was the most nervous after we set the record. While we were still rallying, the goal of mine was not to make a mistake. And we didn’t. I let the ball pass on purpose at a one minute past midnight, so we that we could end up with the identical number of strokes, since I started with the serve. The reason why I was the most nervous after we set the record was that I had an expectation in place that I wasn’t going to make a mistake. Once we set the record, and were simply adding to the record total, I had got very nervous for a moment because I had raised my expectations. I had to lower my expectations and accept whatever the outcome was to shake off my nerves. If a mistake happened, not too bad, we had already captured the world record.

If you constantly check yourself and your level of awareness of your expectations to make sure that your expectations are 0, you will reduce frustration and increase your chance of success.

Minimize frustration and maximize success by using The 0 / 100 Rule.

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.

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
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
Make a Donation

The 0 / 100 Rule

Goals or Stretch Goals?

RogerFederer-WordArtFHGoal setting helps you accomplish tasks. Stretch goal setting helps you accomplish dreams. Angelo A. Rossetti

Many people learned the art of goal setting from the acronym SMART. SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. This was developed by GE for its employees when it was the world’s largest corporation. From the outside, it looks like a great idea to improve employee efficiency or effectiveness. Over time, however, in analyzing the results of this goal-setting method, some found that it stifled creativity. People selected goals that they knew that they could accomplish.

Ultimately, the greater the size of your dream the more imperative it is to have stretch goals and not just goals.

My brother and I developed a new acronym after setting our first world record. One that appeals to children, since it’s easy to remember, and to adults since it addresses the need for stretch goals; the word GOALS itself.

G for Grand. Your dream needs to be a large stretch goal. It should keep you up at night and get you up in the morning. Create a dream board of pictures, quotes, and your heroes that you have above your bed so you are reminded of your dream when you go to sleep so you can dream about it and when you wake up you start taking action toward your dream. Known as BHAG or you Big, Harry, Audacious Goal, are stretch goals.

O is for Optimistic. You need to have and maintain self-belief. If you believe in yourself and surround yourself with a team of supporters, anything is possible. Self-belief will change the seemingly impossible to possible. Impossible is just a disguise for “I’m possible!” If you believe you can extend yourself beyond your boundaries.

A is for Accountable. Find an accountability partner. It’s easy to let yourself down but much different when someone else is counting you. We try much harder to please others than please ourselves. Same holds true for letting others down versus ourselves.

L is Long term stretch goals. These usually span 3 to 5 years. These can almost seem like small dreams coming true as you reach them.

S is for Short term stretch goals. If you create smaller stretch goals your ladder will line up with your dream rather than fall short of your dream if you just used goal setting.

Make practice tougher than the competition or event. Every short-term and long-term goal should be stretch goals. In our case, we achieved stretch goals like losing 20 pounds in 35 days, volleying 4 hours without missing after fasting for 24 hours, and giving up coffee, the latter being the most challenging! Coffee lovers know what I mean.

Long-term stretch goals that we accomplished was breaking our past record in PRACTICE, giving us the confidence and belief that we could do it when that day came.

We shed the fear of making a mistake. We dealt with all of the “what ifs” we fail, a task given to use by our mental skills coach. Would our families still love us? Yes. Would we still have jobs? Yes.

Tim Ferriss calls this Fear Setting. He quarterly does Fear Setting by writing down his biggest fears, identifies what’s the worst that can happen, lists the actions he can take to minimize the worst case, and documents what the negative results would be for inaction. This reminds me of Dale Carnegie’s method of how to stop worrying and start living.

I leave you with these questions to ponder:

Does traditional goal setting work to achieve your dreams?
Do goals need to be achievable?

Stretch your goals and you’ll reach your dreams. 

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.

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
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
Make a Donation

Goals or Stretch Goals?

Talent? Effort? Grit.

scan0004.jpg

Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal. Vince Lombardi

America is enamored with the thought of talent. It’s called “America’s Got Talent” not “America’s Got Effort.” I can’t do that therefore I’ll watch it, pay for it, or be enamored with it. I must admit, I like to pay for something I can’t do, but, might not, if I can do it.

Yet Ph.D. professor Angela Duckworth has dedicated her career to studying what makes people successful. It’s not what you might think. Effort trumps talent. There are three qualities of successful people: talent, passion/purpose and work ethic/effort. Most people focus on the talent part but that’s the part you cannot control. Like the nature vs. nurture debate. It’s what you do with what you have, not just what you have. Some say “Knowledge is power.” I like to say “Knowledge isn’t power; what you do with your knowledge can be powerful”.

Sustained passion is what matters. It’s not just that you are passionate about something. You need to sustain that passion over time. It needs to be time tested and also trauma tested. If you continue to stay on the path of your goals, even through the worst of times, then you have “grit.” It is this quality that differentiates the successful from the not so successful. In the eyes of adversity, you have perseverance.

Angela came up with a formula: talent x effort = skill; skill x effort = achievement or success. The good news for all of us is that it doesn’t matter how much talent you are born with. The level of dedication to your passion determines the level of your success.

The interesting thing is that I believe there are no such things as “setbacks.” Unless a setback causes you to completely quit something, it is not really a setback but, a well disguised “set up.”

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Did he quit basketball? No, he persevered and ended up becoming one of the best basketball players of all time. That takes grit. That takes tenacity. Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot … and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.

Abby Womback lost her high school soccer championship game, being up 3-0 and favored to win. Did she quit soccer? No, she persevered and ended up becoming one of the strongest soccer players in U.S. history.

Carli Lloyd had a significant falling out with her parents regarding the direction of her soccer. Did she quit soccer? No, she persevered and became the FIFA world player of the year in 2015.

Sylvester Stallone came up with a movie script. He was evicted from his apartment and homeless. He was turned down many times until he finally sold the script and landed the leading role. Did he quit acting? No, he persevered and starred in the 3-time Academy Award winning movie Rocky.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the park was rejected by the city of Anaheim because it might attract the wrong crowd.

Thomas Edison, known as one of America’s greatest inventors, struggled with deafness at an early age. Did he quit inventing? No, he persevered and invented the light bulb after 1,000 failures. When asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.

Collin McGregor, was bullied as a child and on welfare as an adult. Did he quit fighting? No, he persevered and become the UFC Lightweight Champion. McGregor said, “If your dream doesn’t scare you then it’s not big enough.”

Roger Federer, at age 34, had to have surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee. Did he quit tennis and focus on family life? No, he used the time off to develop a stronger one-handed topspin backhand with his coach Ivan Ljubičić. He came back that next year to win two more grand slams.

It’s not how smart you are; it’s what you do with your intelligence. Fail forward. Use your setbacks as setups. Focus on what you want, rather than what you are talented at, and you will succeed.

Mindset moment

My brother, Ettore, and I, showed grit in setting two world records in a sport we never took a lesson in. A sport we started “late”. A sport with no financial support or scholarships. We just knew two things: we loved the game of tennis and we enjoyed spending time together. We used to practice on the public tennis courts in our home town of Hamden, Connecticut until the lights shut off at 11 P.M. That didn’t stop us! We headed to the nearby city of Cheshire, to continue practicing until those lights automatically shut at 2 A.M. No one told us to do that. We were just driven by a similar passion.

Suggested Reading:
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

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.

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
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
If you found this article of value please consider making a donation to Save the Children. Otherwise, please share this article so that we can educate, inform and inspire others.
Make a Donation

 

 

Talent? Effort? Grit.