I have written many articles for performance enhancement, mental and emotional skills training, managing stress and sports related topics. Each week, I will add new articles your general information. Your comments are welcome.
THE INNER GAME of HELLER, published September/October 2012 USTAFLORIDA.COM
GROWING THE GAME: COLLABORATIVE AND CREATIVE PROGRAMMING
I recently participated in a wonderful program designed to introduce young children to the game of tennis who might not otherwise have access to equipment, instruction and facilities. A “kids clinic” was held in conjunction with a major professional ATP tournament held at the tennis center in Delray Beach, Florida. <more>
Whether you are trying to calm your nerves down or tame your temper, incorporating mental skills can make all the difference.
In my sports psychology practice I see players at every age, skill level and gender.Many of them suffer from “excess arousal and tension”. Whether it is too much fear, anger or frustration, “excess emotion” hinders performance and hinders motivation. In more serious situations, it contributes to negative feelings about self or diminished self- worth.
Learning how to regulate your emotions is a key skill you must master to play at your best in competitive situations. <more>
THE SEVEN SINS OF SOCIAL TENNIS (AND HOW TO MANAGE THEM
Many people play tennis in the context of a public or private tennis facility where there are numerous courts and people playing with each other and next to each other. It’s supposed to be about fun, competing with like- minded people for enjoyment, exercise and improvement. Yet, too often, players behave in ways that bother, annoy and generally stress out both those they play with and others around them.
Let’s examine some common “sins” of social tennis and see what might be done to reduce their occurrence.<more>
MENTAL TOUGHNESS IN TENNIS: OVERCOMING THE BLAME GAME
I recently received an e-mail that was written by a tennis player on the excuses she had heard people make before, during and after matches. The vast number and type of excuses were overwhelming. I first laughed, because they were both true and funny. Then, I felt kind of sad about people’s difficulty in accepting responsibility for there own action and the results they experience. As a sports psychologist, I often work with clients on this very area. It is only when you can recognize what you are doing and its impact that you will have the awareness and motivation to change. <more>
SPORTSMANSHIP AND PERFORMANCE
A good sport respects themselves, their opponents, officials and the rules and spirit of the game. These values and attitudes help them perform at their best during times of conflict and disagreement. Good sports men and women follow the code of “Winning with Honor” not “Win at any cost”. They consider that THEY could be mistaken about a close line call called out, and view their opponent as sometimes “missing” a call rather than seeking to “cheat” them out of a victory. When disagreements can’t be quickly and calmly resolved, they don’t resort to calling “names” but instead call an official. <more>
YOU CAN’T AFFORD A NEGATIVE THOUGHT
Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings, which in most cases, negatively impacts, on performance. Tennis is a game, which requires “feel”. To have optimal feel our body needs to be in the mild-moderate arousal zone. The tension in our hands, arms and legs needs to minimal so that we can react quickly and smoothly. Excess tension interferes with flow. Since we can only hold one thought in our mind at a time, negative thoughts distract us away from healthy thoughts and effective decision-making which are key to playing well. <more>
MANAGING ON-COURT EMOTIONS
Tim Heckler’s article in the March ADDvantage coincided with my attendance at the Boy’s National 12 Championships. I too, observed the exaggerated efforts of the next wave of would-be champions to exhort them on to victory. Even more sad and obnoxious were the agonizing self-critical verbalizations and contorted facial expressions and gestures following an error or lost point. Their painful screams could be heard sometimes, 3 courts away. <more>
COPING WITH ADVERSITY
During the winter Olympics, in the women’s figure skating event, Sasha Cohen was the clear favorite to win the coveted gold medal, especially after Michelle Kwon pulled out last minute with an injury.As she was warming up just minutes before her performance, Cohen missed a jump-turn and ended up falling on the ice. Clearly, not the last thing you want to finish with just moments before possibly your most important performance ever! <more>
HYPNOSIS: WHAT TO EXPECT
Hypnosis is a specialized treatment approach used in counseling and therapy to help people make changes and adjustments in how they think, feel and behave.
Hypnosis is a combination of relaxation and suggestion. When your body and mind are relaxed, you can focus more fully and are more receptive to making desired changes in how you think, feel and behave. <more>
COPING SKILLS FOR TENNIS PARENTS
Tennis parents, especially those of young children who actively compete in tournaments have great opportunities, challenges and responsibilities in managing their reactions to a number of issues and situations both on and off the court. The tennis parent often has multiple roles, which may include: driver, coach, teacher, friend, counselor, disciplinarian, hitting partner and sometimes, coach.
Sometimes, the lines get blurry and tensions may rise to unhealthy levels. <more>
MANAGING YOUR CHILD’S BEHAVIOR
One of the most difficult experiences for parents is to watch their child “explode” or “implode” on the court and not knowing or being able to do anything about it. Behaviors may include varieties of whining, crying, berating, arguing, cursing, throwing rackets, smashing balls, choking and tanking. Here are some ideas and suggestions to survive these trying times:
ARE YOU GETTING ALL THE ZZZ’s YOU NEED?
Whether you are working with young athletes in a junior program, competing yourself or trying to do your best in your job or career, sleep is an important variable that should not be overlooked.