Katy ready for Wimbledon Juniors

Everyball's Katy Dunne (Junior ITF World ranking 110) gets ready to take on Japan's Nao Hibino (67) in the first round of the Wimbledon Junior Championships. Katy will be playing on Monday 27th June, 5th match on after 11am which ought to mean a late afternoon/early evening match.

Great article in The Times yesterday by Simon Barnes on the Andy Murray Ivan Ljubicic match. A few quotes:

'Tennis is the most emotional game of them all, and every player who wants to achieve great things must learn to use emotion to raise his game at the right moment. You cannot be unemotional and a great player; emotion is as important a part of your armoury as your second serve.....But the ability to ride high emotion can work either way; if you can exploit the emotional upswing to find your best, how can you avoid the emotional downswing that follows? It's probably the case that you can't ; that you must just find a way of getting through it without letting it cost you.'

'But Murray is not the thoroughbred artist, not the artist through and through. Somewhere along that pedigree, a bitch got over the wall. There is the mongrel in Murray that makes him relish the fight and relish the opponent's discomfiture. He is perfectly prepared to go slumming into the dirty parts of his nature to summon up victory.'

'He allowed Ljubicic back in, was broken and had to take us all through the added agony of the tie-break. That's when the mongrel was unleashed and Murray simply refused to have anything to do with losing it.'

Best of luck Katy - seek out the mongrel in you and unleash!

Long-term focus

Maria Sharapova was recently quoted as saying: "You don't get from the first step to the 30th step in one jump. I have always said it's a long journey, and there's going to be.....there have been tough moments. There's going to be good moments ahead, plenty of good ones that I'm going to cherish - I really have no doubt in that. That's why I go out and I keep working.'

Relationships...

Relationships are at the heart of all we do, especially in the coaching world - relationships with players, relationships with parents, relationships with our colleagues and those within the greater coaching community.

So what are the dynamics of a healthy relationship? George Kohlrieser, author of 'Hostage at the Table' puts it these 6 ways:

1. Balance and emotion - When emotions overwhelm reason, we cannot work well with other people....However, logic alone is not sufficient for solving conflict and building a relationship. Rather, we need reason informed by emotion and emotion guided and tempered by reason.

2. Understand each other - If we are going to achieve an outcome that leaves both parties feeling fairly treated, we need to understand each other's interests, perceptions, and notions of fairness. Unless I have a good idea of what you think the problem is, what you want, why you want it, and what you think might be fair, I will be groping in the dark for an outcome that will meet your interests as well as mine. You will be seriously handicapped unless you understand me and what I think.

3. Communicate well - The more effectively we communicate our differences, and our areas of agreement, the better we will understand each other's concerns and the better our chances for reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. The manner and extent of our language build trust and reduce the basis for suspicion in the mind's eye. We have the power to change the state of another person through our transactions with each other. The best communication is that which becomes a heart-to-heart dialogue.

4. Be reliable and honest - Our communications are worth little if we do not believe each other. Commitments entered into lightly or disregarded easily are worse than no commitments at all. Blind trust will not help us work with others; instead, it can damage a relationship more than can healthy skepticism Well-founded trust, based on honest and reliable conduct over time, can greatly enhance our ability to cope with conflict.

5. Persuade rather than coerce - In a particular transaction, we may be more interested in the immediate outcome rather than in the long-term relationship. Each of us will try to affect the other's decisions; the way we do it will have a profound effect on the quality of our relationship.

6. Feel mutual acceptance - Feeling accepted, worthy, and valued is a basic psychological need. The foundation of the deepest bonds has what eminent psychologist Carl Rogers called 'unconditional positive regard.' Unless I listen to your views, accept your right to have view different from mine, and consider your interests, you probably will not want to deal with me......

Everyball's Katy Dunne to compete for GB at Eastbourne

Everyball player Katy Dunne has been selected to represent Great Britain at the Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy against the United States at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne alongside the AEGON International on Thursday June 16 and Friday June 17. She will be joining fellow Britons Fran Stephenson, Lucy Brown, Laura Robson in a match that dates back to 1973 and sees GB take on the USA in an 18&U girls event providing competition between the best players of these two countries.

Simon Jones, LTA Head of Performance Support commented: 'We are delighted that the Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy will again be held at Devonshire Park during the AEGON International. We believe the tie is an excellent opportunity for our younger players to experience playing at a top level event supported by enthusiastic crowds. It is the best grass-court preparation ahead of the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton and of course The Junior Championships at Wimbledon.'

Katy's selection for this team comes on the back of a near miss for her in the LTA pre-qualifying event for the senior Wimbledon Ladies Championships. She was in good form throughout and confidently won through in her first two matches beating Lottie Fox and Danieka Borthwick but lost narrowly to Samantha Murray 7-6, 6-4 in the final round. Unfortunately none of her matches could be completed on the grass due to terrible weather at the tail end of last week, but it looks as if the sun is shining for her this week as she travels down to Eastbourne tomorrow.

Well done Katy and best of luck!

Rain sends play indoors last week at the LTA pre-qualifying event for Wimbledon.

Everyball players continue to put themselves on the line...

Great job to the following Everyball players who finished at the sharp end of the LTA Grade 3 event at Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire:

Jack Mordey (Everyball) and Harry Mabbitt - 18&U Boys Doubles Winners
James Gammell (Everyball) and Adam Chan (Everyball) - 18&U Boys Runners-up
Gavin Mckinlay (Everyball) and Rebecca Tricks - 18&U Mixed Runners-up
Gavin Mckinlay - 18&U Boys Singles Winner
James Gammell - 18&U Boys Runner-up
Adam Chan - 16&U Boys Winner
Oliver Levi and Thomas Schmidt (Everyball) - 14&U Boys Doubles Runners-up
Holly Hutchinson (Everyball) - 14&U Girls Winner
Scarlett Hutchinson (Everyball) - 10&U and 9&U Girls Runner-up
Ben Smith (Everyball and Great Missenden) - 10&U Boys Winner and 9&U Boys Runner-up

Boys 16&U Winner Adam Chan celebrating with his younger brother Alex!

Congratulations also to the following players who competed in the LTA National Spring Clay courts:

Sam Gough, Barney Smith, Michael Shaw, Oscar Glenister, Jack Malloy - 12&U Boys
Lauren Armstrong - 10&U Girls (finalist)
Lara Hill - finished 6 out of 16

Lara Hill with her 'best bud' in tennis pose after Spring Nationals at Queenswood School

Elsewhere, JJ Clark and Seb Harris got to the final of the Heron Open in Newquay and Katy Dunne lost in the final of the Grade 2 ITF I8&U world ranking event
in Budapest, Hungary. Her run to the final takes her to the brink of a top 100 junior world ranking.

Great job done by all and to those players who may have not hit the headlines but put in their own 'personal bests' during this recent competitive period.

At EBI we 'fit in' by the high levels of effort and attitude seen on the training and match court and the levels of respect and humility off them.
It is no longer a question of 'standing out' by these things, but whether or not we 'fit in' by them.

Roger and Rafa

I just love this quote from Rafa on the eve of the French Open final tomorrow:

'I don't have the power to control the weather, so if it rains, I'm going to think it's an advantage for me; if the sun shines, I'm going to think it's an advantage for me. I have to think positive all the time because I cannot control that (the weather).'

And Roger......

'Last year maybe I had a hard time here (at the French Open) and in Wimbledon, but sometimes it's hard to play the perfect match. So that's why you have to accept it and continue to work.'

I love the language these guys use - mental toughness begins here doesn't it? Thoughts (words) influence emotions (feelings) which influence behaviour (performance). Not rocket science and there is no magic potion if you're looking for it - just 'advanced basics' (James Morgan - love that phrase - nicked that from you this week!) on how to think.

teachers, coaches, parents

Substitute teacher in the following for coach or parent:

A teacher solves their problems,
A good teacher helps them solve their problems,
A great teacher puts problems in front of them.

At the top level of sport these are the most pertinent questions:

How hard are you willing to push yourself?

Who can put up with the most pain? (Be that mental or physical)

The challenge then for us as coaches and parents is in our ability to expose youngsters to difficulty; enough to move them
out of their comfort zone and into the learning zone, but not so much as to move them through the learning zone and into the panic zone
where retreat rather than growth is the likely response.

The difficult moments......

The opening line to the book 'A Road Less Traveled' by Scott Peck reads something like 'life is difficult'. He goes on to explore the idea that once you accept this as a truth, it becomes easier. Accept it and then you can deal with it.

Carlo Ancelotti, the what looks like to be 'outgoing manager' of Chelsea Football club was quote today in the Times as saying, 'When we were winning 6-0 at the start of the season, I said that the difficult moment would arrive and when it did, we couldn't manage it'. Interesting that he didn't say 'if' the difficult moment arrives, he said 'when'. That is sport, that is life.

On this occasion, Chelsea and Carlo didn't come up with the answers, but the only failure will be if they don't learn from the experience. Sometimes our ability to respond is just not good enough, but don't worry, there's always another day, another match, another difficult moment around the corner to test us yet again. That's really the beauty of it. An inspired man once wrote, 'suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope'.

I should have won it.....

'Should've, would've, could've, but didn't!' - Maria Sharapova post-match interview a few years back at the US Open following her exit to the tournament. Rather like that - a no blame, no excuses response to a loss.

'I'm just disappointed with myself - I should have ended it (Djokovic's current unbeaten run) tonight' - Andy Murray, last night after his defeat by Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters.

I find myself interested in the language we use on these occasions. Murray should NOT have won - what I mean is, he had no RIGHT to win (and I'm well aware he knows this) so perhaps I'm picking holes with words, but in the realms of the mental game they are so important. What Andy was probably trying to communicate was, 'I could have won if I had made more first serves at 5-4 up in the 3rd set and avoided those two double faults.' This kind of statement echoes the rules of results that I've recorded in this blog before.

1. You can't control your results, only influence them
2. The results you are getting are the results you should be getting
3. If you want to change your results, you'd better do something different

So often I hear players, managers, coaches in post-match interviews saying, 'We should have won, we/I were the better team/player on the day.'

NO, NO and NO again. You were beaten, you were not the better player on the day. That's why we have a scoring system in sport and a winner and a loser. Your opponent had every right to fight, to give 100% effort, to make life difficult for you, to ride their luck, and if you lost, it's the score that suggests who was best on the day.

Fantastic match though - we had friends round to dinner and I switched the TV off at a set and 2-2 in the second, anticipating it would be over by the time we had eaten. Not so, hour and a half later and we enjoyed the rest of the match from 4-4 in the third. 38 matches and counting for Djokovic - Nadal today, I wonder if he'll have the legs for it.......

Do you want the ball?

Just watched the Barcelona v Real Madrid Champion's league Semi Final first leg. Drama for mostly the wrong reasons as so often seems the case in football nowadays, but there was a moment I really enjoyed. Real had a free kick some distance out. The camera focused in for a split second onto the Barca goalie Victor Valdes. His face told a wonderful story - one of him wanting the ball, relishing the opportunity to be involved in the game and to show what he could do. It was a face of excitement, one of 'this is my moment' and I'm ready!

The best performers want the ball, whether it was Michael Jordan with a last second jump shot to win the NBA title, Pete Sampras throwing down the gauntlet to Andre Agassi with another ace, or indeed Lionel Messi putting Real Madrid out of their misery with a mazy 30-yard run and finish in the closing stages of tonight's game.

When the big moments arrive, do you?