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 -, 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!