****WEATHER UPDATE**** Friday 2nd March - Everyball evening squads at Halton cancelled

With the current heavy snow fall which is expected to last for a few hours now, we have reluctantly decided to cancel evening squads tonight 2nd March 2018 as access into the club itself is now compromised despite all of Pete and Oli's amazing efforts to keep us going thus far.

At this stage we plan on being open tomorrow for Saturday morning squads but will advise of any change in this by 7.30am.

Many thanks,

Mike James, Director of Tennis

Unimaginative unrealistic goals

If you can't imagine or see yourself achieving your goals or if your goals don't really connect in a deep and meaningful way for you, you're going to de-rail when it gets tough, boring, painful, difficult.

Achieving anything worthwhile is going to carry a cost, be it physical, emotional, time and resources.  

Sometimes the day to day IS boring, repetitive, dull, but if your goals carry weight and meaning, are realistic, and you can actually visualise yourself achieving them you'll get the work done and you'll stay on track.

Everyball HaltonUk player and ambassador Beth Grey getting the work done this week.  High focus on day to day improvement & marginal gains in all areas will lead to significant performance improvement.  Results become the happy consequence of this.

Enjoy the snow!

Responses to 'pressure' - how do we cope?

Pressure shows up when something 'matters' - simplest way I can put it.

Point in case.  The Bucks boys 18&U County Cup team, mainly made up of Everyball/Halton players, had 6 match points over the weekend to hold off relegation to group 4 next year.  They lost 'em all.

Naturally, there has been talk in the programme this week about the pressure of it, of blowing it, and of course.....wait for it....the dreaded word....choking!!

Yes choking, and I'm delighted to hear it, and here's why:

When pressure shows up, it's often accompanied by nerves, fear, anxiety, tension that express themselves both psychologically but also physiologically.  We don't always like these feelings.  They can be uncomfortable.

So, at an unsophisticated level we look to replace them with the following responses.

  • Don't show up - we actually 'flee' the scene, we make up an excuse, fake an injury or illness, do anything but be there
  • We 'tank' - tanking is withdrawing of effort.  Often done publicly to show that I'm not trying and if I really was I would win
  • Anger - a more familiar and comfortable emotion kicks in.  Not just a burst of anger (which from time to time can help release bit of tension), but sustained anger throughout a match

None of these responses are particularly helpful, but there is an improving order.  The anger response is better than tanking, and tanking is better than not showing.

Next in line then, is choking!!  Choking, and we've ALL been there (and if we're being honest have been there with all the others), is the closet we get to the ideal response to pressure.  Choking, when we get the 'elbow' or our legs go heavy/dead (Jana Novotna against Steffi Graff Wimbledon final in 1993 when she was up a set and 4-1 and blew it) is a sign of courage.  It means you're prepared to face up to the challenge, face the fear, tackle those feelings head on rather than run away from them with one of the above lesser responses.

And it means, that on this occasion the nerves/fear got to you.  We are human, it's normal.  You'll remember Novotna went on to win Wimbledon a couple of years later.

The bull's eye, the ideal response to pressure, is the 'challenge' response, where you feel buoyed and right 'up' for the challenge, where you look pressure in the eye, accept it's a privilege to be out there competing and come up with the 'goods'.  And the more you find yourself in those pressure moments, the more we can re-create them in the training environment, the better you'll get at coming up with this desired response.

You can see the responses to pressure as concentric circles, with the challenge response the bull's eye.  And you'll notice, that closest to the bull's eye is.....choking.

Well done Bucks boys - you put yourself in the position to win and this time it didn't work out.  You'll be better and more ready for it next year as you fight for promotion back up the divisions.  Great discussion with players about this last night in academy squads.

(Adapted from Dr. James Loehr - Responses to Pressure)

Want to start building your confidence today? Try this then....

At the end of each day, spend 5 minutes in quiet reflection. 

When ready, record in a notebook 3 true and positive things that you did.  The 'doing' is the important bit.

That's it. 

Keep it going for a few weeks and let your 'true and positives' build up like a brick wall.

A brick wall of confidence.  It starts with little things.  Define a goal.  Complete a few tasks.  Brighten someone's day.  Put in a solid practice session. Get that gym session done.  Say 'no' to a second chocolate brownie, run that first mile, go that extra step.  Making that phone call.  Have that difficult discussion.  Pay that bill. Try something you've never tried or one thing that's going to make you a bit uncomfortable.  

Go on, you keep going now....


Everyballer Emily talks about 'courageous purpose' and what it means to her on court

'We are committed to fight for everyball [perception & reception skills, right place, right time, best contact, beating bouncing of incoming & outgoing balls], to run down everyball [hustle everyball down, make my opponent miss by pressing too hard, let no ball go past me or bounce twice in front of me without very best effort to get to it] and to play everyball with courageous purpose [smart and brave decision making, overcoming our four fatal fears - fear of failure, rejection, being wrong, emotional discomfort].

We see everyball as an opportunity to explore our 'becoming selves' [growth mindset] our curiosity [healthiest place from where all learning begins] and our creativity [going as far as we can using all we've got].

We know that everyball extends beyond our sport as we learn the fundamental life-skills [respect, responsibility, resilience, reflection] that enable us to thrive in an ever-changing world. 

Mike James - Feb 2018

15 Everyballers represent their Counties this week in the LTA's 18&U County Cup Event

All the best to our Everyball players representing their respective counties this week at the 18&U County Cup.  

Oscar Glenister (Bucks), Dan Dean (Bucks), Ben Smith (Bucks), Joel Good (Bucks), Miles Groom (Bucks), Isabelle Marshall (Bucks), Lauren Armstrong (Bucks), Lauren McKinlay (Bucks), Amelia Barton (Bucks), Alexa Wilson (Bucks), Sophia Ivansky (Bucks), Emily Honor (Bucks), Sophia Mezzone (War), Alexandra Hildreth (Herts), Scarlett Hutchinson (Mid)

Jemima King (Captain, Bucks Girls), Roy Knight (co-captain, Bucks Boys)

Teamwork, team spirit, play for your badge!  Allez!