Top 10 fine-able offences on the doubles court as agreed by the RAF Mens A squad

From RAF Mens 'A' Team training last week, here are our top 10 fine-able offences on the doubles court:

1.  Lack of communication between points, not having a plan

2.  Failure to close down the net on a kill opportunity

3.  Passive team movement - playing safe/not to lose

4.  Playing the 'blame game' - courts, umpires, opponents, conditions, etc

5.  Getting passed through the middle

6.  Failure to make opposition 'play' on break points, especially off 2nd serve return

7.  Hollywood hitting - going for the low % spectacular shot

8.  2+ doubles faults per game

9.  Backing off the net in any situation other than defence

10.  Lack of energy! (especially getting out of the chair at change of ends)!

Any advances on these??

Go with your humanity, your instinct, your hunches.....

So says Seth Godin in his blog today.

Got me thinking about coaching....

We talk a lot now about data driven coaching, the 'science' behind the art.  And for good reason.  Gives us facts, the evidence, often used to persuade and create that all so important 'buy in' our athletes.

But don't let it drive out your humanity, your instinct and your hunches as a coach - the things that come from deeper inside. They often carry more weight, meaning, and emphasis and can pack an equal if not greater punch.

Want to get into the performance zone more often....?!!

Then perhaps it's time to explore this with Mike James - certified HeartMath Sports Professional and NLP Sports Psychology Practitioner as well as an LTA Master Performance Tennis Coach.

Athletes have long talked about 'getting into the Zone'. We know we play better when we are there and we want to be there more often. But what the Zone actually is has been hard to pin down, leaving it mysterious, sometimes unattainable and often fleeting.

Heartmath demonstrates that entering the zone is an internal process that can be developed and accessed at will. It reveals that the Zone is not a place – it's a state of consciousness where your higher motor faculties and intuition merge in liquid co-ordination. The key to accessing the Zone is coherence.

Research over the last two decades has let to new understandings on the interactions between the heart, brain and nervous system and how these interactions impact reaction times and performance. A measurable physiological state has been identified that underlies optimal performance and emotional stability called coherence – a state of synchronisation between the heart, brain and nervous system.

The Heartmath system is an innovative approach to optimal performance based on the fact that we can't just think our way there. Our minds may be thinking positive thoughts about the game and our performance, but our emotions are still linked to that sponsorship deal that fell through, that match point we just blew, and our ability to perform at our best is compromised. It is just about impossible to feel stressed and be in the Zone at the same time.

So whether it's increased productivity of work, overcoming the anxiety and stress of exams, or performing better in your chosen sport(s) please do get in touch for a free of charge consultation. 

Mike James, LTA Master Performance Coach, Certified HeartMath Sports Professional and NLP Sports Psychology Practitioner (+44 (0)7958 008312,

Never let significant moments become defining ones

Sport is full of significant moments.  I was bowled last week on 36 runs, having just got my eye in and scoring well.  It was a significant moment because I was in a great position to influence the outcome of a cricket match which we incidentally lost. I'm still annoyed and kicking myself 4 days later!

I've been supporting our junior competition players this week at the LTA 12/14&U Grade 2 National Tour event held at HaltonUK - not 'Nationals' by the way as many like to refer to these Grade 2 events as.  (The GB Junior National Championships is held in August of each year at Bournemouth and Nottingham respectively).

And here, just as in my cricket match last weekend, there have been some significant moments that have come in the way of wins, losses, come-backs and collapses.  

They are significant in that they mean something.  In that there is something to learn and gain from them.  In that they are a step further towards or away from your current goals.  But let's just leave them at that shall we.

These moments don't define who you are as a human being.

Your self-esteem and self-worth is not determined by them.

Allow this to happen and you lose sight of what sport is all about.

Never let significant moments become defining ones, especially in relation to who you are.

Dom King - Tennis Files Podcast

Dominic King, Head of Athlete Development for Everyball Tennis and S&C Coach for Halton Health and Fitness Club, was recently interviewed for The Tennis Files Podcast. The episode has just been released.

The link for the episode is below or you can download it on ITunes or your chosen podcast platform.


The Tennis Files Podcast is hosted by Mehrban Iranshad in which he interviews top tennis pros and coaches to help you learn the best tips and advice to improve your game. Dom joins an impressive list of people within the tennis world to be interviewed for the podcast.


'It was really an honour to be asked to be part of this podcast, given those who have gone before me. I give Halton a few mentions so I hope I represent the Centre well in it! I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions relating to it or your training, please do contact me;'

07779 023845 

Everyball Tennis Seniors (ITF Grade 5) at HaltonUK held this week

Our first ever ITF Seniors Event is being held this week at Halton.   We've been blessed with amazing weather, a super entry and the tournament has been superbly refereed by Bob Stone and directed by James Morgan.  Events have run across +35, +45, +55, +65 singles and doubles.

So proud of all our Halton club members who (for many) have taken on the challenge of a new competitive experience, laced up and put themselves 'out there'.  Love it!

A massive well done to Tim Gill, Matt Rogan, Ralph Holliday, Rachel Barnett, Dharshi Maheswaran, Colin Read, Danny O'Sullivan, David Evans, Martyn Ledbury (RAF), Ali Johnson (RAF), David Barnett, Rob Pain, Derek Mellor, Wendy Shute and Helen Stewart.

I have personally battled away over 3 rounds to find myself in the final of the Mens 45s today against No. 3 seed Charles Durham who took out No. 1 seed Steve Jones yesterday. Match is set for 12 noon, so if you're at a loose end and fancy some light entertainment watching me wilt in the sun do come down!

A different experience to my last ITF.  On the clay for one meaning some longer drawn out points and making it harder to attack and get in to the net.  Change of direction tough in these dry conditions, so matches have felt very chess-like and tactical.  Nice to play at 'home' in the sense of familiarity, support and ease of warm-ups and pre and post match, but not so easy to switch in and out of work mode!!

A really thrilling week in adding to our portfolio of events at Halton, and the club has very much been at it's best.

Thanks again Bob and James for your amazing contribution to the event's success.  Today's order of play can be seen here: