The compassion of a hardwood warrior - the coaching philosophy of Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson knew how to win.  In fact, he's the winningest coach in NBA history with 11 NBA Championships, 6 with the Chicago Bulls and a certain Michael Jordan, and five subsequently with the LA Lakers. He is the only coach who has won multiple championships with more than one team.

Yet, the one word that seems to underline his philosophy more than any other and flies in the face of the macho world of the NBA (and perhaps much of male professional sport) is 'compassion'.   In his book 'Sacred Hoops - spiritual lessons of a hardwood warrior' he writes:

'Compassion is not exactly the first quality one looks for in a player.  But as my practice matured, I began to appreciate the importance of playing with an open heart.  Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together.  Obviously, there's an intellectual component to playing basketball.  Strategy is important.  But once you've done the mental work, there comes a point when you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line.  That means not only being brave, but also being compassionate, toward yourself, your teammates, and your opponents.'

And whilst he was a serial winner, he was not obsessed with the winning:

'Eventually, everybody loses, ages, changes.  And small triumphs - a great play, a moment of true sportsmanship - count, even though you may not win the game.  As strange as it may seem, being able to accept change or defeat with equanimity gives you freedom to go out on the floor and give the game your all.

I used to believe that the day I could accept defeat was the day I would have to give up my job.  But losing is as integral a part of the dance as winning.  Buddhism teaches us that by accepting death, you discover life.  Similarly, only by acknowledging the possibility of defeat can you fully experience the joy of competition.  Our culture would have us believe that being able to accept loss is tantamount to setting yourself up to lose.  But not everyone can win all the time; obsessing about winning adds an unnecessary layer of pressure that constricts body and spirit and, ultimately, robs you of the freedom to do your best.'

Improve your shoulder-high attack forehand with these super 7 tips!

1.  Contact point will be further out in front of your body, prepare early and space yourself with great footwork with this in mind

2.  Hitting shoulder will be 5-10 degrees in front of your non-hitting shoulder at contact

3.  Get your body mechanics right: 'turn and hit' rather than 'hit and turn' - body comes through first (legs > hips > torso > shoulder > arm > elbow > wrist)

4.  'Throw the elbow' at the ball - creates lag and racket speed at the right moment just prior to contact

5.  Speed up the body on contact (rather than trying to find too much racket speed from too far out)

6.  Be courageous and be prepared to miss some - go after the ball and get used to committing to the shot!

7.  What's your next move?  Never play a shot in isolation and think about how you are going to follow up

Are you a values driven performer? Roger Federer speaks of positivity and privilege

After his poor performance on Sunday against Kei Nishikori earlier in the week at the ATF Finals, Roger Federer had to reconnect with a number of his key values to move on in the event with a 6-2 6-3 win against Dominic Thiem yesterday.

Federer spoke before the match of being more positive in his mindset, and most notably he had to remind himself 'what a privilege it is to play in London.'  Although he's in theory 'earned the opportunity' to play at the end of year finals, the fact he still 'chooses' at this stage of his career to see what he does (play tennis for a living in front of huge and adoring crowds) as a privilege must be a hugely freeing concept in so much as, 'I'm privileged to be here playing, so let's give everything to it and enjoy every moment.'

What are your 'values' that drive you on as a performer?