Update for Friday evening squads 9th Jan 2015

Hello,

All squads will be cancelled tonight at Halton due to severe gusts that are predicted which mean that we can not risk keeping our air domes open.

The only squad going ahead is Mini Red which will be held in the studio from 4-5 pm.

We apologise for the inconvenience and will advise of sessions in lieu in due course.

Many thanks,

The Everyball Team

How's your 'attitude' today?

My wife despairs at my relentless drive to maintain a positive attitude. ‘You try living with him’ is her stock line to friends as I throw quote after quote at her. Even I can see that it can get tiresome! I know I’m going over-board when my son corrects his teacher saying, ’no miss, the saying isn’t “practice makes perfect,” its "practice makes permanent!’"

And we do talk a lot in sport about positive attitude. But what does attitude really mean? Jung described it as ‘the readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way’. I like that definition, and perhaps more specifically ‘our readiness to act or react in a positive way’. Got me thinking; am I ready to act or react in a positive way today and what are the barriers towards me doing so? The answers might be as simple as fatigue (for me I’m suffering the effects of jet lag with another morning being wide awake at 5am!) or they may be a little deeper or complex. Either way, identify what might be the barriers towards you acting or reacting in a positive way today and the battle is half-won! And let’s face it, some days we’ve gotta work just that little bit harder at it than others. Jemima King (Everyball Coach and Head of our Aspire to Excel programme) calls this ‘emotional endurance’ - the ability to stay positive as fatigue and other factors creep in! So today, we can be victims or we can be volunteers. It is really our choice!

Have a positive day! Mike

Beware faddism

Our problem is not that we will not believe in something, rather it is that we'll believe in anything. In this 'information' age, we can often rush to accept the next great miraculous solution to our problems, and this is especially true in sport.  The next technological gimmick to be sold, the new coaching technique, the next diet or protein shake that will turn you into Novak Djokovic over-night.  We are forever looking for the latest trend or the locality of the next big breakthrough as if all the answers will be found there.

This is not to say that we should stop exploring, pushing the boundaries and exercise our creativity and curiosity, but just a call for some more mature thought and understanding around the things that 'really' make a difference, what could be described as more 'old school' values around staying the course, maintaining a commitment through difficult moments, and a relentless focus on the 'basics'.  

'We cannot get away from the fact that no matter what you may set your sights on doing or becoming, if you want to be a contender, it's mastering the ability to learn that will get you in the game and keep your there.' (Make It Stick)

One of the biggest tools in learning is the ability to reflect, the act of taking a few minutes to review what has been learned in a recent experience (a training session for example) and asking yourself questions.  What went well? What could have gone better? What other knowledge or experiences does it remind you of?  What might you need to learn for better mastery, or what strategies might you use the next time to get better results?

In my experience we can all become better self-reflectors, improving our 'intrapersonal intelligence' or the ability to understand one's self and make accurate judgements of one's knowledge, abilities, and effectiveness.

A happy, 'failure filled' new year to you!!!

You're right, not the normal greeting for this time of year, but for the year to 'bear fruit' it must be challenging.  For it to be challenging you've got to set yourself some outcome or learning goals where your reach just exceeds your grasp, where failure is possible, where you have to choose between playing to win and playing not to lose!

Paul Tough writes in his recent book How Children Succeed that the essential ingredient is encountering adversity in childhood and learning to overcome it.  He writes that children in the lowest strata of society are so beset by challenges and starved of recourses that they don't stand a chance of experiencing success.  But, here's another paradox, kids at the top of the heap, who are raised in cosseted settings, praised for being smart, bailed out of predicaments by helicopter parents, and never allowed to fail or overcome adversity on their own initiative, are also denied the character building experiences essential for success later in life.  A kid who's born on third base and grows up thinking she hit a triple is unlikely to embrace the challenges that will enable her to discover her full potential.  A focus on looking smart keeps a person from taking risks in life, the small ones that help people rise toward their aspirations, as well as the bold, visionary moves that lead to greatness.  Failure, as Carol Dweck tells us, gives you useful information, and the opportunity to discover what you're capable of doing when you really set your mind to it.  (From 'Make It Stick)

Everyball Tennis programmes begin at our various sites this week where our sport, at whatever level you play, provides you with the unique opportunity to learn and grow and have fun.

So make it a goal this year to embrace failure as a positive step to learning as you commit to fight for every ball, to run down every ball and to play every ball with courageous purpose.  See every ball as an opportunity to explore your 'becoming self', your curiosity and creativity, and know that 'everyball' extends beyond our sport as you learn and refine the fundamental life-skills that enable you to thrive in an ever-changing world.

Make 2015 an 'Everyball' year.  Come and join us - info@everyball.net, James Morgan (Programmes Manager/Halton Head Coach) 07981 152818, Danny West (Tring Head Coach and now a Daddy!) 07748 633671, and Mike James (Director/Founder) 07958 008312

My challenge over the holiday period was an ocean swim on New Year's eve morning at 6.30 am (in warm climes dare I say!) that has inspired me to do a 10k open water swim in the UK this summer.  Wet suit here we come!