Everyball's Liberty Crawford off the mark in Morocco

16 year old Liberty Crawford is off the mark in her first Women's 25K event in Rabat, Morocco.  She won her first qualifying match today against Salma Charif of Morocco 6-4, 6-2.  She  plays Italian Carolina Pillot ranked 430 in the world (WTA) tomorrow for a place in the main draw.  

Nice work Lib and good luck!

Stats don't always tell the story

England v Scotland yesterday:

Passes: Scotland 238, England 72
Minutes in possession: Scotland 35, England 23
Tackles made: Scotland 62, England 142
Scrums won: Scotland 7, England 4
Line-outs won: Scotland 16, England 10

Score: England 13, Scotland 6

Balance...

From The Times today - Michael Johnson talks to Usain Bolt.

'I had the chance to put some questions to Bolt this week as he relaxed in his home town.  That is one of the things I like about him.  Most people think that, to perform at this level, you must wake up early, train all day, adhere to a strict diet and get to bed early, then do it again the next day, with no time for anything else.  I felt that it was important for me to enjoy my life as well and I am certain that balance contributed to my longevity in the sport.'

'For me, balance is very important,' Bolt said.  'I train hard when it is time to train hard.  But I also like to enjoy my time off track.  I am not someone who likes to sit around and think about track and field all day, every day.  I think I would run worse if I had nothing other than that.'

Let go

Was reminded yesterday of the phrase 'let go'.

Do this:  Write down LET and then underneath the 'E' write GO

Are there situations where 'letting go of ego' would lead to a better result? Coaching relationships, parenting, situations at work....

Aussie Open final

I couldn't not blog after that!!!!

Amazing, amazing match, full of everything we'd want to see as coaches, players and fans.  Over the next days, I'll pick out a few gems from the player's themselves, but my brother sent me this yesterday which made me laugh:

'This from the guardian live text commentary on line this morning:

First set: Djokovic 5-6 Nadal*
Cometh the crucial moments, cometh
the Djokovic bouncing of the ball
before serving. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. 15-0 . Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. 15-
all. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. 30-15 . Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. 30-all . Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
30-40 , as Nadal produces one of his
best forehands of the day. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Bounce. Bounce. Break Nadal, as
Djokovic goes long. Nadal will serve
for the first set after 66 minutes.'

The 'real deal' of competition

Few sporting moments from this weekend...

Australian Open - Gael Monfils plays Mikhail Kukushkin in the 3rd round.  Monfils is down 4-5 in the fifth set, but 30-15 up serving.  Misses his first serve and hits a good kicker out wide to Kukushkin backhand who returns ok cross-court.  Monfils steals around his backhand to hit a big inside-out forehand to take him to 40-15 and a chance to level the match, when suddenly one of those big yellow balls is thrown onto court from the stands.  Umpire calls for a let and Monfils serves again, only to double-fault.  Visibly rattled, he loses next point and then double-faults away the match.  He's on the next flight home.

Man City looking good at 2 nil early on in second half of game v Spurs this afternoon.  A mad few minutes and Spurs are level with goals from Defoe and Bale and at 2-2 Spurs are on top.  Defoe narrowly misses a great chance to get on end of a Bale cross as game draws to a close.   Then a last ditch ball into the box and King fouls Balotelli to give away a penalty, which the latter calmly puts into the back of the net just before the final whistle blows.  City stay 3 points clear at the top of the table whilst Spurs title challenge is thrown into doubt.

Jude James (my 7 year old) steams down the pitch from one end to another for his U8 Berkhamsted Raiders team and is blatantly fouled in the box (his description) by both goalie and defender and, no penalty given.  Raiders lose 3-1. His brother Joel, meanwhile, with his U9 Team goes into overtime in a cup-game with opposition scoring the winning goal 2 minutes from the end.  

This is, as a colleague of mine Paul Dent puts it, the 'real deal of competition'.  My response to Jude as he complained to me later: 'If you choose to play the game, you need to understand that these types of things may happen, so that when they do, you can handle it.'

Not sure he quite understood what his Dad was getting at and a cuddle seemed a better option, but hey, I tried and the cuddle was nice!

On the court or on the pitch, the hand we are dealt is not often a fair one, but if we're smart enough with the cards we do have, we can still manage to influence results in a positive way. 

Smacks as bit of life.  

Murray to play Kukushkin in the next round In Australia

Tip for the week taken from Brad Gilbert's 'Winning Ugly'

I'm sometimes accused of 'winning ugly' which I take as a great compliment.  It means I've 'found a way to work it out' even if I haven't performed at my best that day.  Brad Gilbert of course was the master of this and I take the tip of the week out of his fantastic book.

For some pros (the ones not making any money) and most recreational players there are two kinds of points: ad points and all the rest.  Wrong.  I treat the point the can get me or my opponent to an ad point as a major moment because it offers a major rewards.  That reward is the opportunity to win (or convert) a game.  I call any point that precedes an ad point a Set-up Point.  The point played a love-30, 30-love, 15-30, 30-15, 30-30, and deuce are all Set-UP Points for one or both players.

When I'm looking at one of those scores bells are ringing inside me, especially at 30-30 (or deuce) when we both have a chance to step up and get to an ad point.  Each one is a big swing because it decides who gets a chance to cash in on the game.  And if the set or match comes with winning that game the Set-up Point's value is multiplied (I think of those moments as Super Set-up Points).

If I win a Set-up point at 30-30 or deuce I'm only one point away from winning the game.  My opponent is three points away.  A big difference.  If I win a point at 30-15 (to go up 40-15) the spread is even bigger.  Psychologically it's all positive......

So, this week,  just look to improve your 'awareness' of the Set-up Points and next time, we'll look at how best to 'play' them.

More!

I was reading some notes today by a guy called Mike Hawthorne, principal of an International School in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  He has been involved in education all his life but generally reckons he has more to learn these days than before he started.  I identify with that - the more you journey on, the longer you spend in a particular discipline, the more aware you are of how much more there is to learn!  That's good, exciting, and humbling.