tag:everyball.net,2013:/posts Coaching, the never-ending discussion.... 2017-11-15T07:21:25Z Everyball with Mike James tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1205422 2017-11-15T07:21:25Z 2017-11-15T07:21:25Z Academy afternoon warm-up!

[Thanks Andy Higham for this one!]

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1205143 2017-11-14T07:25:45Z 2017-11-14T19:44:31Z Poise and purpose
 Everyball Touring Pro and Ambassador Beth Grey shows poise and purpose as she hit through this forehand in yesterday’s first round victory of 25k in Poland. All the best for today Beth!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204946 2017-11-13T12:03:57Z 2017-11-13T13:06:50Z Two choices - tear each other apart or build each other up

It's what it really boils down to isn't it?  We can either tear each other apart or build each other up.  On a personal level but also on a wider cultural one.

As tennis clubs/centres/coaches/parents/players/volunteers, our ultimate success depends on the overall health of our industry

The stronger the industry, the more jobs, the more resources, the more knowledge gained and shared, the greater the improvement both on and off the court.

A culture of back-biting, where players hope their mates/rivals lose, where coaches talk down other programmes or colleagues, where parents are less than complimentary towards each other.....we've all been there at some point, all played a part in this....  

Don't get me wrong - healthy and respectful competition is good, it drives up standards, but competitive collaboration, recognising the strengths in each other, the great contributions made at all levels of the sport, the victories no matter how great or small - well, that kind of culture is just better for all of us. 

It's quite hard though, goes against the grain and our human instinct.

Requires some real intentional behaviour and change in attitude.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204733 2017-11-12T09:47:05Z 2017-11-12T09:47:05Z Coaching interventions

Better to make NO intervention than an unnecessary one or an inaccurate one! 

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204411 2017-11-10T09:38:33Z 2017-11-12T09:11:37Z A lesson in crushing your child....

Child walks in the door having just been dropped off after playing a football match.

Dad: 'Did you win son?'

Son: 'No Dad.'

Dad: 'Did you score son?

Son: 'No dad.'

Dad drops his head.  Son drops his, now having lost the excitement he had to show his Dad the 'man of the match' trophy in his bag, awarded for the best team performer that day.

(Thanks to Julie Blackwood [Chartered Exercise and Sport Psychologist, Loughborough University] for sharing this today on the LTA SPC L4 Course)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204186 2017-11-09T10:48:21Z 2017-11-09T10:48:21Z This week Everyball Tennis boast 3 boys in GB top 10 (12&U, 14&U)

A superb reflection of Everyball's Aspire to Excel Academy Programme.  This week's GB national rankings show 3 Everyball boys inside their respective age-group's top 10.

Joel Good - 14&U No.8

Miles Groom - 14&U No.10

Joshua Oakley - 12&U No. 8

Superb work and progress boys.  You're not arriving at a destination, but continuing your journey into constant and never-ending improvement, where becoming is better than being, improving better than proving.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1203603 2017-11-07T07:14:48Z 2017-11-07T07:14:48Z Teachable moments

I heard a youth worker from Redthread  (a charity aiming to support and enable young people in South London to lead healthy, safe lives) talking on the radio about 'teachable moments.'   She mentioned that often the most 'teachable moments' come in the darkest of times when a youth is in hospital A&E having been stabbed (via gang invovlement) with no family, no friends and life in the balance. This can be the impact moment for the youth worker to seize upon to get that young person to consider making a change in their lives - if indeed, they survive.

As coaches, our teachable moments hopefully don't come in life/death situations, but they may well come in the low moments and tougher times that all athletes/performers experience.  These are moments when dissatisfaction may well be at it's highest and the 'need' to improve/change is at it's greatest.  These are the moments of revelation in and around the well used saying 'if I continue to do what I've always done, I'm gonna get what I've always got.' 

As coaches and leaders, do we wait for the teachable moments to arrive, or are there ways in which we can orchestrate and create them, the creation of mini crises (the plural of crisis google reliably informs me!) if you will?

As players, do we come with curious and teachable attitudes, inquisitive, prepared to overcome fear of failure and the fear of the emotional/physical discomfort associated with learning.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1203594 2017-11-06T11:15:00Z 2017-11-06T23:05:17Z Dom King of Everyball Tennis, HaltonUK presents at the iTPA (International Tennis Performance Association)

Our very own Dom King, Head of EBT (Everyball Tennis) Athlete Development at Halton Tennis Centre, presented at the prestigious World Tennis Fitness Conference in Atlanta in July.  Here is his write-up of the event.  Great work Dom!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1203182 2017-11-04T08:23:29Z 2017-11-04T08:23:29Z Reaching the pinnacle of your sport with governing body support

To win the World Cup in football or rugby you require the support of and selection by your governing body.  It is essential.

To win a gold medal at swimming, you need the support of and selection by your governing body.  It is essential.

To win a gold medal at athletics, you need the support of and selection by your governing body.  It is essential.

In fact, to reach the pinnacle of most sports your require the support of and selection by your governing body.

Tennis, is an exception.

The support of the governing body is desirable, preferable and helpful but not essential.

Selection by the governing body for various programmes and opportunities is desirable, preferable but not essential.

You can reach number 1 in the world without your governing body.

Our governing body does a huge amount of excellent work building our sport and assisting top players along the pathway but if you don't fall into that support or the opportunities offered, can I please remind you that this is not a show stopper, it's not the end of the road and it is not an indication that you can't do it.

Wherever you are, whatever your situation be creative and exercise your 'ability to respond' by  identifying, gathering and mobilising all your resources to focus on getting better.  The first resource to identify and mobilise is your own beliefs, attitudes and mindset over what is possible.  Perhaps it begins with the above today.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1202959 2017-11-03T07:37:43Z 2017-11-03T07:37:43Z Nadal and Djockovic forehands - what can we learn?

Nadal and Djockovic warming up at Wimbledon couple years ago.   Forehands almost synchronised.

What can we take away and practice from these two great champions?

  • Great balance - solid, wide base, 'you can't fire a canon from a canoe'
  • Relaxation and a 'let go' feeling in each shot
  • A more traditional follow through for Rafa
  • Tip stance and increasing body speed through the shot
  • 180 degree shoulder rotation 

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1202683 2017-11-02T07:45:49Z 2017-11-02T07:45:49Z RAF Tennis's Flight Lieutenant Jon Bond is selected as RED 2 for the RAF Red Arrows

We're more used to seeing Jon race around the courts at Halton rather than speed through the skies but a huge congratulations to Jon Bond's selection as RED 2 for the 2018 Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team the Red Arrows.

A huge honour for him, a massive accomplishment and although we'll miss him on the RAF Men's A team next year, we're right behind you Jon!  Well, that's if we could ever catch you!

Jon flew the Typhoon operationally and he gave a great 'Curious Cows talk' to us in 2016!  See this link: http://curiouscows.uk/content/preparing-handle-pressure-jon-bondhttp://

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1202431 2017-11-01T07:58:02Z 2017-11-01T07:58:02Z Everyball hits Europe! Ten Pro Global Junior Tour - Mouratoglou Junior Championships

This week an Everyball Team is out out competing in Nice, France at the Ten Pro Global Junior Tour Mouratoglou Junior Championships. 

James Morgan and Sam Kilhams are captaining an Everyball team of Fraser Reeves, Joshua Oakley, Calum Fairey, William Mottram, Jack Feinson, DJ Mentiply, Oliver Mccay-Brown and Amelie Brooks (shown playing a great point in the video).  Team chaperone is Laura Mars.

So far, reports have been fantastic via a very busy What's App group!  Looks like the players are having an amazing learning experience, getting plenty of great match practice on the clay, supporting each other as a team and clearly having a ball!

Our next Everyball trip is already being planned!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1201538 2017-10-29T07:54:32Z 2017-10-29T07:54:32Z Developing your hitting zone...

'Hitting zone' is the distance over which your strings are facing/pointing towards your target during the hitting phase of the stroke (the forward swing pre, on and post contact).  A longer hitting zone increases chances of a consistent contact point (timing) and increases potential for more racket velocity (speed over a given direction).  Use of the non-dominant hand during the one-handed backhand key in this.

See here 10 backhands in a row against the wall aiming for the cross.  Pretty proud of shots 8 and 9!  (This was 'take 1' I promise!)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1201540 2017-10-28T16:22:36Z 2017-10-28T16:22:36Z Our minis learning to fight for everyball today at Halton's Junior club champs

Some superb tennis played today across the age-groups - well done all! Here's just one of the highlights by a couple of our minis!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1201352 2017-10-28T07:43:27Z 2017-10-28T15:53:35Z Practice your tip stance as basis for good body mechanics and easy power....

Turn the back knee to kick start the kinetic chain (sequential transfer of energy through body segments) as a basis for efficient generation of body speed leading to relaxed and easy power.  Can be practiced at any level of play from mini tennis to pros.  When practicing the tip stance ensure the back knee turns and heel lifts prior to contact, not on or after contact.  The timing of this is key.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1201286 2017-10-27T07:50:19Z 2017-10-27T07:50:20Z Half term honour role continues with Grade 3 titles for Miles and DJ

Miles Groom - Oxstalls 18&U winner.  DJ Mentiply - Shrewsbury 12&U winner.  Well done boys!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1201187 2017-10-26T18:48:05Z 2017-10-26T18:48:05Z When to 'go back behind' having served out wide...follow this example of Everyball Ambassador and pro player Beth Grey

Great example of Beth at the Wirral 15K this week using the wide serve (always a strength for the lefty!) and then making the smart decision to go back behind her opponent with ball 3.  This was smart because her opponent played a slow return which allowed her to reposition relatively well. Had the return been hit with more pace and therefore limiting her opponent's recovery time, Beth (I hope!) would have taken ball 3 into the open space using the double opener!  I wonder where Beth goes with ball 5??!!

Simple rules (clear plans/patterns) can be helpful as they reduce uncertainty/anxiety and increase confidence, so when serving wide go back behind your opponent when the return is slow, and into the open court when its faster and build the point from there! Of course there will be exceptions but follow the rule first and then explore the except ifs.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1201157 2017-10-26T16:34:34Z 2017-10-26T16:34:34Z Everyball girls Lauren and Amelia win doubles title this week

Great job Lauren and Amelia in winning the U18 Grade 3 Oxstalls Doubles title in Gloucester this week.  Well done!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1199217 2017-10-19T04:55:12Z 2017-10-19T04:56:18Z Training a low and wide base

We all know the importance of a low and wide base for baseline groundstroke efficiency and effectiveness.  See here Everyball's Sophia Mezzone training this vital area.  Nice work Sophia!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1199097 2017-10-18T08:42:53Z 2017-10-18T08:42:53Z Making your opponent play from difficult court positions.

Love this Nadal quote:

'My mission is to make them play with difficult (court) positions, so if they want to go for a (a) lot of winners with very difficult positions, the chance of having success is not very high.'

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1198818 2017-10-17T07:52:22Z 2017-10-17T07:52:22Z Immersion, incubation, insight - the keys to creativity and optimal performance

Creativity sits at the heart of the Everyball philosophy alongside 3 other core values, commitment, courage and curiosity:

We are committed to fight for everyball, to run down everyball and to play everyball with courageous purpose.

We see everyball as an opportunity to explore our potential (our 'becoming selves') with curiosity and creativity.

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 every-changing world.

We (at Everyball Tennis/HaltonUK) define creativity as our ability to identify, mobilise and gather all our resources to go as far as we can and the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (yes really, he's a PhD, researcher and pioneer in the field of positive psychology known for his ideas on happiness, meaning, and optimal performance) defines a clear 3 step process that fosters creativity, breakthrough ideas and discoveries as well as improvements in performance whilst preventing burnout and fatigue:

1.  Immersion - total engagement in your work/training with deep, unremitting focus

2.  Incubation - a period of rest and recovery when you are not thinking about your work/training/sport at all

3.  Insight - the ocurence of 'aha' or 'eureka' moments - the emergence of new ideas and growth in your thinking/performance.

For me, the key and most left-out and ignored part of this process is 'incubation' or as I like to put it, world-class rest!  

How much rest do you get in your day, your week, your month, your year?  If you're anything like me, not enough is the answer and maybe it's time to get into some new habits around this area?  When we see rest as an active part of the equation to open up greater creativity and improved performance it might just move us on from our dominant western cultural mindset of 'if I'm not working I'm failing!'

(Reference 'Peak Performance' by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1198368 2017-10-15T07:34:56Z 2017-10-15T07:34:56Z Competing today? Nervous and anxious? That's good (if you view it as such!)

We all suffer the same feelings of nerves, apprehension and tension before going into competition or something that matters, be that a job interview, presentation or meeting.  It's normal and human.

However, the mindset we adopt around these feelings could have a profound effect on how we perform.

'Additional research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, shows that instead of trying to calm yourself down, 'reappraising pre-performance anxiety as excitement' is often advantageous.  When you try to suppress the pre-event nerves, you are inherently telling yourself that something is wrong.  Not only does this make the situation worse, but if also takes emotional and physical energy to fight off the feeling of anxiety - energy that could be better spent on the task at hand.  Fortunately, according to the authors of this paper, simply telling yourself, 'I am excited' shifts your demeanour from what they call a threat mindset (stressed out and apprehensive) to an opportunity mindset (revved up and ready to go).  'Compared to those who attempt to calm down,' the authors conclude, 'individuals who reappraise their anxious arousal as excitement perform better.'  Put differently: The sensations you feel prior to a big event are neutral - if you view them in a positive light, they are more likely to have a positive impact on your performance.'  

(This last paragraph was taken from 'Peak Performance' by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness.  Bolds are mine)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1198207 2017-10-14T06:47:03Z 2017-10-15T07:35:14Z The mark of a great sportsman......

This won't sound like a idea dripping with performance inspiration, but consider this.

Your success will not be determined by your very best performances and it will not be de-railed by your worst.  It will be determined by how good your 'average' is.

Your average of course is determined by the sum of your performance scores/the number of performances.  Mark a performance out of 10.

Here are five performances:  2/10, 8/10, 9/10, 1/10,4/10.   Wow, an 8 and a 9 in there, good job!  Let's sweep the others under the carpet eh?!!  The average = 4.8.

How about these five?:  6/10, 7/10, 5/10, 8/10, 7/10.  That's an average performance of 6.6.  Never quite hitting the dizzy heights, but pretty much just 'normal'.

The reality is that most of our performances will sit somewhere between 4/10 and 7/10, in the average to normal band.  It's tough to be right up there at your very best consistently (8-10) and its unlikely that you be at your very worst (1-3) that often, so most of your performances will sit somewhere in your 'average' zone.  This is your 'normal'.

The key then, is to raise the quality of your normal or even take it a step further as Martina Navratilova once commented:

'The mark of a great sportsman is not how good they are at their best, but how good they are at their worst.'

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1197770 2017-10-12T10:55:38Z 2017-10-12T10:55:39Z Quote of the day
In relation to Messi's recent exploits in single handedly ensuring Argentina qualify for the world cup by absolutely 100% coming up with the goods in a high pressure/stakes 'win and you're through, lose and you go home' match versus Ecuador:

Cometh the altitude, cometh the attitude

Love that.
Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1197579 2017-10-11T14:23:33Z 2017-10-11T14:23:33Z Results follow improvement!

Great job to Everyball/Halton UK player/ambassador Beth Grey (ranked 777) who today beat 6th seed and world ranked number 300 Michaela Honcova (SVK) 6-2 6-0 in the Cherbourg 25k round of 16.

Great example of 'results follow improvement' with Beth making some significant strides forward in her game over recent months and working like stink in the gym to get fitter, stronger, faster!

Keep up the great work, onto quarters tomorrow!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1197507 2017-10-11T05:07:26Z 2017-10-11T05:07:26Z The coach's job is to inspire change
Remember this one?

D x V + F > cost of change

That's Dissatisfaction x Vision + First Steps > Cost of change 

The job of the coach is to help promote in the athlete a healthy dissatisfaction with the current position (in relation to a skill, overall game, etc), then paint a picture of what 'could be' (know your outcomes), and identify first steps towards getting there. That equation must be greater and more compelling than the cost to change (generally the associated physical and/or emotional discomfort).
Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1197208 2017-10-10T05:51:21Z 2017-10-10T05:51:21Z Your ladder to improvement
Energy spent worrying about someone else's ladder is a waste.  Focus on your own. Understand there will be periods where you may get stuck on a rung for a while or even take a step back, and there will be periods of harvest where you might accelerate by 3! Stop paying too much attention to the guy next door, it's unhelpful.

Understand also that the ladder never ends. Even after your sporting career is over, there will be something you can get better at but the attitudes and behaviours are acquired now for that!
Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1196033 2017-10-04T19:14:54Z 2017-10-04T19:17:13Z It was a 'T' serve from the ad-court

The 'T' serve from the ad-court took a returning Shapovalov into the other half of the court, allowing Zverev the chance to go 'back behind' on ball 3!  A pattern of play we've been working on this week in the Everyball Aspire to Excel Academy programme.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1195762 2017-10-03T19:23:07Z 2017-10-03T19:25:17Z What shot has Zverev just played to generate this response from Shapovalov?

Can you guess what shot Zverev has just played to generate this response from Shapovalov, and where is he going to hit the next ball??

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1193710 2017-09-25T08:27:50Z 2017-09-25T11:53:44Z Do you play tennis/sport for a noble purpose?
Dr James Loehr, world renowned Sports Psychologist, talks about having a 'noble purpose for why we are playing tennis' (insert your sport in place of tennis).

He goes on to say that some reasons for why we play tennis do not serve us well.

Achievement does not guarantee anything in terms of happiness.  Some of the worlds top sportsmen and women have been miserable and depressed, especially when they reach the top of the mountain and feel nothing but empty.

Society's answers for success - fame, money, power, status/position, materialism, beauty - do not make us happy.  

Re-purpose your reasons for playing

I am in tennis because.....

  • It helps me grow up (Everyball's 4R's of Respect, Resilience, Responsibility, Reflection)
  • I keeps me healthy and fit
  • I love it and love competing and testing myself
  • I love to learn new things and seek to master something that matters to me
  • It will help me raise the finances to open a school for disadvantaged children (Andre Agassi on re-purposing why he played, the happy consequence of which was reaching No. 1 in the world again)

Do you need to re-purpose your reasons for playing?

Everyball with Mike James