Everyball Players compete in Europe and Asia on the ITF Junior Tour.Tor Pisani writes about her first ever ITF match - Grade 4 in Andorra, Spain over the weekend: Second match on centre court against a Spanish girl also without a ranking (ITF). After a close first set, with very short rallies and far too many unforced errors on my part, she took it 7-6. Realising that I needed to make more balls, make her play, and generally take it to her helped me to take the second set comfortably 6-1. So nearly two hours on court and we were heading in to the third. I got off to a very good start, went up a break straight away and started taking control. She was losing it mentally and not long after I was 5-1 up and she was serving to stay in it. An awesome service game on her part and I was serving for the match. I wasn't feeling at all nervous. Much. A tight, sloppy service game and it was 5-3. A quick glance at phil sitting in the stands and a little encouragement (not coaching!!) was enough- a solid service game and I took the match. Woop woop!! Katy Dunne wins first round of Thailand Grade 2 but loses a tough second round against seeded player Katharina Lenhert from Germany in 3 sets - still in the doubles. Alex Clark won her first round against a tough Czech opponent today at a Grade 4 in the Netherlands - going strong and has to play her doubles partner tomorrow in second round.
2. Fighting hard from tough positions knowing there is always a way back
3. Running down everyball, no matter what the situation/circumstance
4. Focusing on helpful attentional material - match goals, in between point routines etc
5. Catching negative thoughts (self-talk) and re-framing with positive ones; change the thought change the feeling mentality
6. Keeping/remembering score and calling the lines accurately (not giving points away but being fair)
7. Body language that shows confidence, fight, and a 'I can handle anything you throw at me' attitude
8. Attending to errors; figuring out why we missed and looking to make necessary adjustments
9. Demonstrating that competition is a privilege and that as performers we meet our own expectations under pressure
10. Demonstrating that it is my choice to compete and I'm aware of the possible 'triumph' or 'disaster' that may result! Over the next few days I'll be exploring these points a little further so I hope you'll read on. Hope you're having a good weekend.
Did you know that Darwin and Tolstoy were considered ordinary children? That Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated as a child? That the photographer Cindy Sherman, who has been on virtually every list of the most important artists of the twentieth century, failed her first photography course? That Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent? (Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck)A person's true potential is unknown and it's impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training. Let's just focus on that word 'toil' for a moment. I think toil is linked with 'error' and 'failure', two words that seem to carry negative connotation. But can we see error and failure in a different light? Can we actually turn them into a gift? We believe that intellectual and physical skills can be developed through effort, so let's not be discouraged by failure, let's not even think we are failing, but instead let's think we are learning and through our errors and failures, 'scaffolding' ourselves up to higher levels. That's why we 'fight for every ball' - the language of 'effort' helps us to identify with the ground level struggle of failing, correcting, trying again, failing, correcting..... The philosophy of 'Everyball' (and the name given to our Academy at Halton Tennis Centre) is a call to arms, a philosophy to inspire greater effort, deeper practice and improved performance both on and off the court. As everyball players we fight with our heads, hearts and legs. We make smart decisions and play with purpose and clear intention, we are courageous, resolute and determined, and we have the physical condition to run every last ball down. As performers we seek to live up to our own expectations under pressure, and we understand that our 'potential' is our capacity to develop our skills with effort over time (see Mindset again). As everyball people we seize each day with integrity, courage and creativity. We seek to embrace discomfort and we take each day as an opportunity to grow and improve, meeting head-on the full range of life experience.
I'll try do my best with the computer cos it's a japanese one so really weird!! So here goes.... We left Wednesday morning from heathrow airport. Before the flight we had to make sure we had enough food to last the epic 27 hour journey so we all bombarded into Eat (type of sandwich place). So all of us got a good quantity of food, bar the one, who went overboard on the stocks...of course it was Pippa Horn, who made sure she had one massive baguette, 2 packs of sandwiches, bag of crisps, banana, pot of fruit, big bar of chocolate and of course a muffin (the girl eats like a horse!!) though this wasn't enough for her as she lapped up the plane food as well! During the flight some managed to get some sleep but others (unfortunately me) couldn't manage it :/ though finally I fell asleep for 5 hours during our wait for the connecting flight!!
So finally landed in Japan at 6.30 Friday evening to the awaiting darkness (goes dark here so early!) and found our way to the hotel where I went straight to bed. First day of practice and were all gagging to have a run about after the journey. Half an hour in and disaster strikes....Pippa (my doubles partner) fell on a ball about 8 metres behind the baseline and couldn't get up as her ankle had swollen to the size of a tennis ball...so off to the hospital she went (she managed to find herself there the last three trips!!) Myself, Fran Stephenson and Lucy Brown finished our practice and went back to the hotel for a shower where we found Pippa on crutches with a cast on her leg...bang goes my doubles partner. The day before matches and were all pretty bored of waiting around so we go to the local park for a chill out and game of dares which starts pretty light, with dares that just make us look plain stupid but then they got a bit more intense. We dare Lucy to go and ask these two Japanese kids to use their ball while their eating their lunch....first dare complete. But then we thought we would make the stakes a bit higher with Lucy having to go across the park by herself and interrupt some adults skipping by running in and start skipping with them. Which of course she did and found it so fun she ran over and got me and we skipped with them for 10 minutes...very funny i guess you had to be there to understand it!! But safe to say we have made some japanese friends! ....And then there was match day which you already received. Note: Katy won her first round doubles match today
'No man can climb beyond the limitations of his own character' (unknown)
If the above quote is true, those of us with a desire to get better 'results' ought to invest more into developing our 'characters'.
How do we do that?
Well, an inspired man once wrote that in order to develop our character we need to learn to persevere, and to develop perseverance we need to 'suffer'. Hmmm, doesn't sound like too much fun does it, but this can help us make some sense of those times that all athletes will spend in the 'wilderness'. This might mean a bad run of results or really struggling to find the motivation to continue to train day in day out with the right intensity and commitment. It might mean being out for months with an injury or being on the receiving end of a poor ratings/rankings decision. Whatever your wilderness experience has or is going to be, you can be sure that it will be a period in which your 'character' is developed. In my opinion 'character' is a key requirement to help you through those critical moments in competition, so let's look to welcome those opportunities we have to suffer just a little!
Even gold is subject to the refiner's fire, so character forming wilderness experiences ought to be treasured! Counter-culture thinking, but what else did you expect?! Oh, and that inspired man goes on to say that the end product of suffering, perseverance, and character is HOPE, or in our context as athletes an OPTIMISTIC view of the future and what we can achieve.
It has been said that one of the cruelest things you can do to your child is call them 'talented'. Daniel Coyle writes is his book the Talent Code: 'When we praise children for their intelligence (talent), we tell them that's the name of the game: look smart, don't risk making mistakes....we are exquisitely attuned to messages telling us what is valued, and true to findings, each of the (talent) hotbeds I visited used language that affirmed the value of effort and slow progress rather than innate talent or intelligence. As Spartak, for instance, they did not 'play' tennis - they preferred the verb borot'sya - 'fight' or 'struggle'. Coyle continues: 'The truth is, when you are starting out, you do not 'play' tennis, you struggle and fight and pay attention and slowly get better. Effort based language works because it speaks directly to the core of the learning experience'.