Category Archives for "Mindset"

TFP 061: How Ian Westermann Created One of the Biggest Online Tennis Instructional Sites in the World

TFP 061: How Ian Westermann Created One of the Biggest Online Tennis Instructional Sites in the World

On today’s episode of The Tennis Files Podcast, I spoke with my friend Ian Westermann, founder of Essential Tennis. I asked him about his passion for the game, how he went from country club tennis instructor to one of the biggest online tennis instructional sites in the world, and how we can become better singles and doubles players, among many other interesting topics.  Ian was featured in Forbes as one of the most successful online tennis instruction entrepreneurs and he is considered one of the pioneers of online tennis instruction.

Ian started the Essential Tennis Podcast in 2008, which is one of the most popular tennis podcasts of all time. Ian and his awesome team at ET have produced an incredible amount of free, high-quality, value-filled videos that have helped millions of people improve their tennis games.  The proof is in the pudding: Essential Tennis currently has over 125k subscribers on Youtube, which says a lot about the quality of ET’s instructional content. Ian and his team have also created tons of amazing premium tennis courses at EssentialTennis.com.

It was a pleasure having Ian on The Tennis Files Podcast, especially because we both share the same passion as you do: to become better tennis players.  I hope you enjoy this episode of TFP with Ian, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [3:36] Ian’s secret nickname
  • [4:49] Does Ian really have an Essential Tennis tattoo?
  • [5:19] How Ian got his start in tennis
  • [9:08] Ian’s incredible passion for the game
  • [13:22] Ian’s junior career
  • [16:47] Not making the college team the first year
  • [19:22] The highlight of Ian’s college tennis career – playing in the zone
  • [24:32] Ian’s experience taking the Professional Tennis Management Program at Ferris State
  • [28:35] Ian’s coaching jobs at various tennis and country clubs and the frustrations he experienced
  • [33:56] Tough career choices
  • [36:23] The Essential Tennis Podcast: one of the longest standing tennis podcast out there
  • [38:32] What to expect next from The Essential Tennis Podcast
  • [41:15] Leading yourself through the tennis learning process when you can’t find a coach for you
  • [44:04] Ian’s 3 key tips to playing better singles
  • [46:10] How to become a better doubles player
  • [50:28] What is a Vlog and why Ian started one
  • [54:52] Three books Ian would gift to a friend to help him/her become a better tennis player
  • [58:36] When to expect Ian’s new book
  • [59:38] What’s in store next from Essential Tennis
  • [1:00:46] Where can we connect with Ian and Essential Tennis online
  • [1:01:51] One key tip to help us improve our tennis games

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Essential Tennis Podcast – iTunes link here

Essential Tennis Youtube Channel

Essential Tennis Website

Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

Mastery – George Leonard

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

Tennis Files Youtube Channel – Subscribe!  You know you want to 😉

If you enjoyed my interview with Ian, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, subscribe to my newsletter and download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 059: Gigi Fernandez - The Unlikely Path to 17 Grand Slam Titles

TFP 059: Gigi Fernandez – The Unlikely Path to 17 Grand Slam Titles

On today’s episode, I spoke with 17-time grand slam champion Gigi Fernandez about her unique path to becoming one of the legends of tennis.  Gigi is widely considered to be one of the best doubles players of all time. She won 2 Australian Opens, 6 French Opens, 4 Wimbledons, and 5 US Opens, 2 Olympic Gold Medals with Mary Joe Fernandez, the 1990 Fed Cup, and is a Hall of Famer.  In 2000, Gigi was named Puerto Rican Athlete of the Century.  The former world #1 doubles and #17 singles player now spends her time coaching adult players how to excel in tennis and developed the Gigi Method of doubles.

We discussed how Gigi overcame a lack of resources as a junior in Puerto Rico, her strategies for playing dominating doubles, her journey to winning 17-grand slam doubles titles, the Olympics, life after tennis, and much more on Episode 59 of the The Tennis Files Podcast!

I hope you enjoy my interview with Gigi, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [3:03] Where Gigi stores her 17-grand slam trophies and the 100s of other trophies she won in her lifetime
  • [3:33] What Gigi would have been if she wasn’t a professional tennis player
  • [4:28] 3 things most of the world doesn’t know about Gigi Fernandez
  • [5:49] How Gigi got her start in tennis
  • [6:42] Memories of her Gigi’s first tennis tournament
  • [12:36] Gigi’s lack of role models and how she blazed her own trail instead
  • [8:03] Where she trained as a junior
  • [9:26] How Gigi elevated herself to the best player in Puerto Rico despite very few resources
  • [14:40] Gigi’s most memorable experience as a junior
  • [16:21] What made her decide to play at Clemson
  • [19:02]  Why Gigi improved her game the most in college vs any other time in her career
  • [23:47] Gigi’s most memorable Grand Slam win and how changing her thoughts helped her come back from her lowest point in her career
  • [27:40] Why detaching from the outcome is the most important advice Gigi has ever received in her career
  • [29:13] The benefits of meditation and how it helps control your emotions
  • [31:43] How doubles has changed from when she played vs. today
  • [34:33] Gigi’s most important accomplishment in her pro career out of all the grand slams, the #1 rankings, the gold medals, Fed Cup title, Hall of Fame induction, and all of her other titles
  • [35:23] Gigi’s experience at the Olympics and the difference playing for your country vs. at pro tournaments
  • [36:39] How Gigi was able to stay consistently successful during her remarkable run of winning at least one Grand Slam title every year from 1988–1997, except in 1989, and for three straight years winning three of the four Grand Slam doubles titles in the same year (1992–1994)
  • [39:36] How Gigi balanced her singles training with her doubles training, since she played both at a very high level
  • [41:48] Doubles drills she practiced with her partners
  • [43:22] Why she decided to retire in 1997 at the age of 33
  • [46:10] Life after pro tennis and earning a new identity: coaching pros and going back to school
  • [48:32] What is the Gigi Method and Doubles.tv all about?
  • [52:31] Big improvements players have made through learning tennis at doubles.tv
  • [54:44] Books she’d gift to a friend to help them become a better tennis player
  • [56:51] One big myth that a lot of tennis players and/or coaches believe today
  • [58:21] One key tip from Gigi to help us improve our tennis games
  • [1:00:16] Where we can find Gigi online and in person

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Gigi’s “Never Lose Your Serve” video course – Gigi’s free Video training course

Gigi Method – Gigi’s website

doubles.tv – Gigi’s doubles program

gigi@gigifernandeztennis.com – Gigi’s email

Tennis Technique Summit

Tennis Files Youtube Channel – Subscribe!  You know you want to 😉

If you enjoyed my interview with Gigi, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!

A Lesson from the 16th seed

5 Takeaways from the #16 Seed UMBC Retrievers

If any of you are college basketball fans, you might have heard the record breaking upset.

UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), the #16 seed in the NCAA tournament, defeated the #1 overall seed, University of Virginia, by a whopping 20 points.

I played college tennis at UMBC and am very proud of their record-breaking victory.

There’s a lot we as competitive tennis players can learn from UMBC’s stunning upset:

1. Throw seedings out the window

At the end of the day, a seed is just a number next to your name. It reflects the past, but not the present. Maybe your opponent did really well earlier in the year, but he/she hasn’t been training as often, or playing as well recently. Perhaps you have been training really hard and are actually a better player. Don’t let seeds psyche you out. Remember, its just a number. Otherwise, why even play the match?

2. Confidence through your training

Have you been working diligently on your game, improving your weaknesses and sharpening your strengths? Are you prepared for the match? Did you figure out a game plan, prepare your equipment, eat properly, and train your fitness? Then draw confidence from your training and preparation. You are ready to win! UMBC said after the game that they had the confidence they could topple UVA, and they did it.

3. Seize the victory

Many teams would try to run out the clock and hold on to the lead in UMBC’s situation. The Retrievers built up a sizeable 14-point lead early in the second half, but did they let up? No, they kept the pressure on, took their shots at the right times, and put away UVA. This is even more important in tennis, where there is no shot clock. Remember Isner-Mahut, 70-68 fifth set at Wimbledon? Keep focused on executing your strategy until you win match point.

4. Heart over Size

K.J. Maura is 5’8, but he didn’t let his size disadvantage stop him from wreaking havoc on UVA’s defense. Instead, he used his strengths, including his speed and competitive drive, to overcome that obstacle. Similarly, if you are facing an opponent with a huge serve or overpowering stature, your thought should not be “oh crap I’m doomed,” but “awesome, now let’s figure out how to defeat my opponent by using my strengths and exploiting his/her weaknesses.”

5. Playing in the Zone

The Retrievers were able to get into the optimal frame of mind, the perfect mix of intensity, relaxation, and fun on the court that let them play incredible basketball. This will be different for everyone, in terms of how serious, intense, and relaxed you need to be to play your best. Pay attention to your demeanor before and after matches, visualize success, and you’ll be on your way to performing better on the court and, every once in a while, playing in the zone.

There’s a lot to learn and be inspired about from UMBC’s victory, and I hope they keep this run going.

Now all they have to do is bring back the tennis team.

TFP 054: How to Become Champion Minded with Allistair McCaw

TFP 054: How to Become Champion Minded with Allistair McCaw

On today’s show, I spoke with sports performance specialist Allistair McCaw about how we can become Champion Minded.  Allistair was a guest on the podcast on Episode 11 of TFP, when we chatted about developing world class athletes. Allistair recently published his newest book, Champion Minded: An Athlete’s Guide to Achieving Excellence in Sports and Life with Jenny W. Robb.

Allistair is also the owner of The McCaw Method, a former professional athlete, and trains many world class athletes, including US Open Finalist Kevin Anderson (ranked as high as #10 in the world).  Allistair walks the walk, with multiple top 5 finishes in the World Duathlon Championships, completing 12 marathons in 12 months, and winning South Africa’s fittest man competition among his many accomplishments.

We speak about the importance of vision, why your morning routine can set up the rest of your day for success, how Kevin Anderson exhibits the traits of being Champion Minded, why you need resilience and grit to achieve your goals, and much more on Episode 54 of The Tennis Files Podcast.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Allistair, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:25] Did it get any easier for Allistair to write his second book, Champion Minded, after his first book (7 Keys to Being a Great Coach)?
  • [4:16] Allistair’s inspiration for writing Champion Minded
  • [6:06] The importance of vision, and how Allistair guides his athletes to developing the right vision that will help them achieve their goals
  • [8:04] Why Allistair stuck a sign above his bed as a young kid that said “Allistair McCaw – World Champion” and other encouraging signs
  • [9:54] How to overcome laziness and the feeling of wanting to be comfortable so you can make the right decision
  • [12:14] Allistair’s morning routine
  • [15:24] Why Allistair has kept a training journal since he was 11, and the type of information to record in it
  • [18:14] Why Athletes digest information best in short doses and how that influenced the structure of Champion Minded
  • [20:55] Why competing is what athletes have trouble with the most
  • [22:35] How Kevin Anderson exhibits the traits of being Champion Minded?
  • [24:16] Allistair’s most memorable moments with Kevin and the team during the US Open finals against Rafael Nadal
  • [26:43] The importance of grit and resilience and how to develop it to help you achieve your goals
  • [29:14] Why reading Champion Minded will help you perform better on the court and in life

 

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Champion Minded: An Athlete’s Guide to Achieving Excellence in Sports and Life – Allistair’s new book

Allistair’s Website

McCaw Method Facebook Page

Allistair’s Email Address

Allistair’s Twitter Page

McCaw Method Performance Products

TFP 011: How Allistair McCaw Develops World Class Athletes

Tennis Technique Summit

Tennis Files Youtube Channel – Subscribe!  You know you want to 😉

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking them, I make one-hundred-billion dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Allistair, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 046: The Mental Game with Jeff Greenwald

TFP 046: The Mental Game with Jeff Greenwald

On today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Greenwald, an internationally recognized sports psychology consultant and licensed therapist who specializes in the mental game of tennis. Jeff gave us some fantastic advice on how we can play better tennis by improving the way we think on court and about the game on Episode 46 of The Tennis Files Podcast. If you haven’t listened to Episode 44 with Neil Endicott on Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology yet, definitely check that one out as well.

Jeff is author of a fantastic book entitled The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Strategies for Fearless Performance.  He is also a speaker and a former world-ranked pro on the ATP Tour who went on to reach the No. 1 ITF ranking in the world and U.S in the men’s 35-age division.

The mental game is such an important part of tennis and I am really excited to bring you this interview with Jeff. We discuss the most important lessons Jeff has learned about the mental game, his biggest struggles on the court, advice that he’d give his younger college/ATP pro playing self, tips on how to improve your mental approach, and much more. Jeff’s advice will help you deal with pressure during matches so you can play better tennis. Click the play button above to listen to the interview. Enjoy!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [1:11] How did Jeff got to where he is today in his tennis career
  • [1:55] What Jeff learned most from The Bollettieri Academy
  • [3:10] Jeff’s most difficult moment as a professional tennis player that pushed him mentally?
  • [5:27] Jeff’s advice to himself as a 20-year old college/ATP pro player
  • [7:47] What can we do to strengthen our mental game?
  • [10:15] What are a few things we can do during a match to help us reset for the next point?
  • [13:12] How can we stay positive after a series of losses?
  • [15:45] Strategies from Jeff’s book that will make a substantial impact on your performance
  • [18:36] Books Jeff recommends you read to improve your mental game
  • [22:02] One key tip from Jeff to help you improve your tennis game

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Jeff’s Website – jeffhgreenwald.com

Jeff’s Book – The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Strategies for Fearless Performance

TFP 044: Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology with Neil Endicott

The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr

Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

Open – Andre Agassi

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl and William J. Winslade

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking them, I make Eleventy-Billion dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Jeff, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 044: Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology with Neil Endicott

TFP 044: Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology with Neil Endicott

On today’s episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Neil Endicott, a coach and author who specializes in Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology (MBTP). Neil discussed how tennis players can play more confident and effective tennis by training the mental part of their game through MBTP.

Neil has written numerous articles that have been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post and Tennis Magazine. Even Novak Djokovic has talked about how mindfulness helped him reach new heights in his career in his book Serve to Win. If one of the greats in the game believes in training yourself to be more mindful, it’s worth a try.

We discuss human psychology, how players can change their mindset through MBTP, meditation, and how we can train ourselves to perform our best by being in the moment and recognizing negative thoughts for what they are: thoughts and nothing more.

I know a lot of you struggle with pressure and negative emotions on the court. This episode will help you on your journey to overcoming these mental obstacles. I hope you enjoy this fantastic episode on mindfulness with Neil.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [4:43] How did you end up becoming an expert on the mental side of tennis?
  • [10:29] Were there any particular books or courses that you read which laid the foundation for your philosophy about the mental game?
  • [14:17] If you could give your 16-year old self advice, what would you say?
  • [15:55] What pros use mindful meditation to help their tennis games?
  • [20:52] More relaxed versus fiery players and how both can use mindfulness based tennis psychology to excel on the court they should mentally approach tennis matches
  • [24:19] How Mindfulness Based Tennis Psychology is structured to help tennis players
  • [28:35] Here’s a scenario: I get an easy sitter on a crucial break point, and blast the ball long. I immediately get a negative thought about what just happened. What should I do?
  • [32:28] Mistakes are a part of tennis.
  • [33:56] Why we tend to battle against ourselves in our minds and what to do about it
  • [38:43] What is a basic meditation that we can start with that will help us be more mindful?
  • [42:06] How long should we meditate for?
    • When is the optimal time to meditate; in the morning, before a match, or after a match?
  • [45:22] How long does it normally take before we will see results from MBTP?
  • [47:43] Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean hard work
  • [50:22] When we play against players that are ranked higher than us, there is often an innate feeling that we are supposed to lose/cannot win. How can we overcome these thoughts?
  • [55:08] One key to improve our tennis games
  • [57:43] Mindfulness Based Tennis Psychology can help you excel in other parts of your life as well

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Links Mentioned in the Show

tennismentalskills.com

Djokovic’s New Tennis Psychology – Neil’s article on Novak Djokovic and MBTP

Serve to Win – Novak Djokovic’s book

Note: The link to Novak Djokovic’s book is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make 78.5 million dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Neil, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

 

TFP 043: How to Run a Successful Tennis Program with Matt Bilger

TFP 043: How to Run a Successful Tennis Program with Matt Bilger

On today’s show I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Bilger, Director of Tennis at Chantilly National Golf and Country Club. Matt was my former assistant coach at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County where I played Division I college tennis. He always kept our team positive and ready to handle adversity. Matt brings the same expertise and energy to the court with his current players, and it was my pleasure to interview Matt on the podcast.

Matt and I discussed his passion for the game and tips for running a successful tennis program. Matt talks about his approach for teaching club level players, how he structures the program, and common mistakes that he fixes in his students’ games.

It was awesome to speak with Matt and I appreciate the enthusiasm and effort that he brings to every lesson and clinic he teaches. Enjoy the episode and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [4:15] Matt journey from a late start in tennis to Director at a country club
  • [5:58] How Matt’s mentor influenced his passion for tennis
  • [7:22] At what age did Matt start playing competitive tennis?
  • [8:43] Advice for aspiring Directors of a tennis/country club
  • [12:18] How Matt overcame the lowest point in his career
  • [14:17] What are three things the world doesn’t know about Matt Bilger?
  • [15:57] Three of the biggest mistakes that Matt sees club players make
  • [17:28] The structure of tennis programs at Chantilly National.
  • [19:02] How Matt gets more players to be engaged and participate in your programs, particularly with social media
  • [20:32] How to fix technical issues in club players
  • [22:03] How to approach teaching beginner tennis players
  • [24:10] Matt’s affable personality; was it always this way?
  • [25:30] How to maintain motivation teaching long hours
  • [27:04] What are 3 tips to improve our serves?
  • [29:19] How Matt incorporates fitness into his clinics
  • [31:15] Some of Matt’s favorite tennis drills
  • [33:10] Favorite tennis books?
  • [34:08] The best advice Matt’s ever been given about tennis
  • [35:23] One key tip to help tennis players improve their game
  • [36:22] Where we can follow Matt online and on social media

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Links Mentioned in the Show

TPF 002: Focus on the Process with Keith Puryear 

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

Agassi’s Book – Open

Pete Sampras – A Champion’s Mind: Lessons From a Life in Tennis

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make 800 million dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Matt, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

2 TFP 042: How Clay Thompson Changed His Perspective and Saved His Tennis Career

TFP 042: How Clay Thompson Changed His Perspective and Saved His Tennis Career

On today’s episode I spoke with professional tennis player Clay Thompson, a serious contender for most interesting man in the world (move over, Dos Equis guy!). Clay grinds mostly Challengers and some Futures events as he pursues his dream of becoming a top-ranked professional tennis player.

Clay has been ranked as high as 408 in the world (last year) and is famous for a viral video of him smiling and fist-pumping his way to the semifinals of the Champaign Challenger last year. His high-energy and carefree approach is what makes Clay such an entertaining and enjoyable player to watch.

Even more impressive is Clay’s business acumen and his outside interests, which include creative writing and helping grow the game of tennis.

If you dare press the play button above, you are in for two of the most entertaining and insightful hours of audio that I have produced on The Tennis Files Podcast so far. And it only took me 42 episodes to crack a decent joke or ten on the show!

Thanks again to Clay for coming onto the podcast and showing us how we can improve our tennis games with a more positive mindset and an attitude of gratitude for the game we love.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

Beginnings

  • [2:00] Clay’s first memory of playing tennis
  • [3:09] Playing other sports and how he decided on pursuing tennis
  • [4:33] Clay’s tennis idols growing up
  • [6:55] Clay on the importance of personality in tennis
  • [8:30] What are 3 things most of the world doesn’t know about Clay Thompson
    • Creative writing, screen writing, business ventures, alternative medicine
  • [12:41] Favorite video games: Final Fantasy, League of Legends, Counterstrike

Junior Career

  • [14:42] The first tournament Clay played as a young kid
  • [15:55] What it felt like to win his first tournament
  • [17:57] The highest ranking Clay reached as a junior player
  • [23:13] Going toe to toe with Jack Sock in the Juniors
  • [26:50] Technical changes in the juniors.
  • [30:14] 

    Unique

     stroke techniques – Gulbis, McEnroe

Transition to College Tennis

  • [31:27] A pivotal moment for Clay in 2012 in the All-American Championships that helped change his perspective on the game and save his career
  • [38:24] The type of yoga Clay practices and how it helps Clay’s tennis
  • [41:01] The most influential person in UCLA Tennis that helped grow his game and character.
  • [44:29] A point away from winning the NCAA Championship match to UVA
  • [47:51] Clay’s impressions about Mackenzie McDonald, a fellow UCLA Bruin and teammate, on his prospects on the pro tour?

Pro Tour 

  • [50:33] What is the hardest part about being a professional tennis player?
    • Being like a CEO and managing your finances.
  • [53:18] Dealing with no job security in tennis
  • [57:38] Solutions for the financial black hole for professional tennis players
  • [59:58] A normal day of training when Clay isn’t playing a tournament?
  • [1:03:49] Typical workout day for Clay
  • [1:06:07] Differences between working out for tennis and other sports
  • [1:08:29] Shake-weight training for tennis! (just a joke 🙂 )
  • [1:09:12] His experience reaching the semis at the Champaign Challenger last year
  • [1:11:24] Plan to have an awesome year and executing on it with great results
  • [1:14:27] How to plan financially as a professional tennis player; documenting expenses and your budget
  • [1:17:13] The importance of mind maps and Mind Meister (tennisfiles.com/mindmap)
  • [1:18:39] The need for more business courses to teach professional players to manage their finances
  • [1:19:04] The benefits of forming a company (i.e. LLC) as a pro
  • [1:20:58] A fine example of a terribly-executed Chappelle-show joke
  • [1:21:57] The key to succeeding on the pro tour
  • [1:26:00] Clay’s worst experience at a Challengers/Futures Event (hint: it involves food poisoning!)
  • [1:28:52] How Clay feels being a combination of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in one body
  • [1:29:35] What the camaraderie is like on the pro tour
  • [1:32:59] The importance of having a strong team
  • [1:34:01] Clay’s favorite meal after a match
  • [1:35:59] Cooking on the road
  • [1:36:54] Clay’s not the only one with a personal chef!
  • [1:37:54] Training at the USTA National Facility
  • [1:41:43] Traveling on the pro tour
  • [1:43:16] Clay Thompson is not Klay Thompson
  • [1:44:25] The key to having a huge serve like Clay
  • [1:46:37] Clay’s long-term goal in the sport
  • [1:49:10] The need for marketing tennis more effectively to help it flourish
  • [1:53:43] Three of Clay’s favorite tennis books
  • [1:57:27] Where can we follow Clay online?
  • [1:59:00] One key piece of advice on how we can improve our tennis games
    • Structure your training in a way that keeps you happy and motivated to get better
    • Go from “have to” to “want to.”

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Links Mentioned in the Show

TFP 035: Martin Blackman

TFP 033: Dr. Mark Kovacs

Agassi’s Book – Open

Zen Tennis

Inner Game of Tennis

Winning Ugly 

Clay’s Twitter Page (@ClarenceAThomp)

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make 6 million dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Clay, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 041: Coaching Elite Junior Tennis Players with Adam Blicher

TFP 041: Coaching Elite Junior Tennis Players with Adam Blicher

On Episode 41 of TFP I had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Blicher about coaching elite junior players and high-performance tennis principles. I first heard about Adam when I searched for tennis podcasts on iTunes. The Adam Blicher Show popped up, and ever since, I have learned a lot from Adam and the fantastic guests he has had on his show.

Adam focuses on dissecting and deconstructing the minds of world-class performers & leading specialist in our sport. This is something that I love doing as well, so it is not surprising that we connected and did an episode that will help you all improve your tennis games.

Adam also has a really cool show called Adam’s Advice that will be up around the time of this episode. I highly encourage you to check out Adam’s podcast and his show to further immerse yourself in the world of experts so that you can improve your tennis game!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:33] How did you get to where you are today in your tennis career?
  • [3:51] What is it about tennis that inspires and motivates you to get up and coach your players every single day? 
  • [5:01] What are 3 things most of the world doesn’t know about Adam Blicher
  • [5:57] In your bio, it mentions that you dissect and deconstruct the best tennis performers and athletes so that you can teach others; How does one go about doing this type of in-depth study to improve themselves? 
  • [8:55] If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were a junior, what advice would you give yourself? 
  • [10:25] Pressure is a huge part of tennis; what type of mental exercises or training do you have your players go through to help them with this part of their game?
  • [13:01] What type of advice do you give your players before they step out on the court? 
  • [15:25] What are your thoughts about meditation? 
  • [18:26] How can a player break through a losing streak? 
  • [20:22] If a player constantly gets tight on big points, what advice would you tell that player to help him/her perform optimally in critical situations. 
  • [22:10] What is a typical day of coaching like for you?
  • [23:37] What are three keys to successfully coaching juniors in the 14-16 age group?
  • [25:43] How much traveling do your players do, and do they ever have issues coping with the travel? If so, how do you help them with this?
  • [28:00] What are some mistakes that you see other coaches making that inhibits the growth of their players? 
  • [30:48] What should a player do if they have to make a big technical change to a stroke (i.e. how much tournament play should they be doing)?
  • [34:20] What type of fitness regimen do you put your players through? 
  • [39:22] Who are a couple of your high-performing junior players and what about them makes them so successful?
  • [42:18] What did you learn from interning at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy? What is it about coach Mouratoglou that makes him a great coach?
  • [45:41] Which interview on The Adam Blicher Show is your all-time favorite, and why? 
  • [48:52] What was the best piece of advice your podcast guest gave on the show? 
  • [50:16] I understand you are planning to release Adam’s Advice; can you tell us about it? 
  • [51:12] What are three books that you would give as a gift to your tennis players? 
  • [52:37] Do you have a morning routine, and if so, what is it? 
  • [53:47] Adam’s favorite type of coffee 
  • [54:33] Where can our audience find you online and in person?
  • [56:20] Upcoming podcast episodes
  • [57:50] Key piece of advice to improve your tennis game

Many thanks to Adam for coming onto The Tennis Files Podcast and providing our audience with a lot of great advice and tips to help you improve your tennis game!

Subscribe to automatically download new episodes!

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Subscribe on Android

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Links Mentioned in the Show

The Adam Blicher Show

Adam’s Facebook Page

Complete Conditioning for Tennis

Mental Gym

7 Keys to Being a Great Coach – [Allistair McCaw – TFP 011]

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make a small commission. Thanks either way!

If you enjoyed my interview about coaching elite junior tennis players with Adam, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

2 How to Overcome Adversity When the Pressure is On

How to Overcome Adversity When the Pressure is On

CLICK HERE to download my free strategy guide.

There are many critical moments in a tennis match where you will feel pressure to succeed. Ironically, because of this pressure, it can be difficult for you to perform your best.

I know because I’ve competed for over 2 decades in tournaments against national and world-class competition. And I’ve failed so many times that I’d need extra hands to count them all.

But, these failures, along with my successes, have helped me learn what it takes to flourish in the big moments of a match.

Let’s examine the most pressure packed points during your matches and how you should approach them. By identifying these moments and implementing the advice that follows, you will be more prepared to succeed when the going gets tough.

1. The Beginning of the Match

There is a lot of uncertainty at the start of a match. You don’t know how you or your opponent are going to perform. You may not know how you need to play against your opponent to be successful. Nervous energy sets in because of all the unknowns.

Unfortunately, you can’t afford a slow start. It can be all the difference between a well-fought victory and a slow long climb up the 0-5 deficit mountain.

Uncertainty breeds discomfort and potential for suboptimal play. Luckily, if you develop a gameplan based on you and your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, much of this uncertainty will be replaced with confidence from the moment you step out on the court.

A little planning goes a long way. Formulate strategies for the match to keep you focused on executing the right plays before the first ball is struck.

2. You Lose Several Points in a Row

This can be a big confidence buster. You make a string of errors or your opponent comes up with big shot after big shot and starts going on a hot streak. Is it time to panic?

Nope. Time to go back to the basics.

Reset your mind and your game, and remember the solid strategic fundamentals that you’ve heard time and time again from coaches.

Deep cross-court balls, as many as you can in a row. Attack the short ball, usually down the line, and come to net. Nothing fancy. Just good, clean basic tennis.

If you play the percentages, run for every ball, compete with grit and determination, and still lose, then you deserve props for giving it your all and that bag of cheese puffs you’ve been craving since Nixon became president.

Remember, when you are in trouble, do what my college tennis coach Keith Puryear used to always tell me: go back to the basics.

3. Your Serve Has Just Been Broken

Holding serve is expected for intermediate and advanced players. The serve is the most important stroke in tennis. You start the point hitting your serve half the time, which gives you the opportunity to begin the point on your terms.

This is why practicing your serve is so critical to reaching your tennis potential. But even with all the practice in the world, your serve will get broken during matches.

If you lose your service game, take a deep breath and plan how you will break right back. Breaking your opponent’s serve right after you’ve been broken is the best time to do so for a couple reasons.

First, there is often increased pressure on the opponent to consolidate the break (i.e. hold serve). Second, if you can break right back, you can make your opponent feel like breaking your serve was somewhat of a fluke and a non-issue, since he or she was broken immediately. Third, it stops the momentum and evens the score as quickly as possible.

And sometimes your opponent will become too overconfident or lose focus after breaking your serve. Time to pounce on these weaknesses like a cat who just spotted a box of organic kitty litter from Whole Foods.

Instead of being discouraged at losing serve, look for ways to get back on track. Commit to having as strong a return game as possible. Get your returns in play, be gritty, and apply controlled aggression to put the pressure back on your serving opponent.

Momentum is huge, and the quicker you stop your opponent’s advantage, the quicker you can swing things to your advantage.

4. When You’ve Broken Serve

This is the other side of the coin. When you break your opponent’s serve, depending on your personality, you may either become too relaxed, be preoccupied with needing to consolidate the break, or get too excited and lose concentration.

The key is to have a gameplan in place that you can keep implementing against your opponent. Understand what point patterns will enable you to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses while utilizing your strengths.

CLICK HERE to download my free strategy guide.

Then focus on sticking with what works through the entire match.

Instead of putting pressure on yourself to win your service game after breaking, think about the strategies you need to implement to win the match. Then execute these strategies.

Focus on the task at hand (winning each point) rather than on accomplishing something that hasn’t happened yet (i.e. winning the match) and your won’t create openings for your opponent to get back on track.

5. In the Late Stages of the Set

We often feel the pressure during the latter part of a set. Most players will settle into the match and play their game after a while, but staying mentally tough late into the match takes a lot of focus and experience.

A common scenario is when you are serving at 4-4 or 4-5. A break of serve on your end can spell doom for the set or the match.

Not to worry, because you have a couple things to fall back on: your gameplan and high-percentage play.

Your gameplan got you this far, so keep executing the point patterns that have helped you get to this point. Set up the points so you can use your strengths in your game as much as possible.

By definition, your strength is something you excel at, so going to it as much as you can during tough situations will give you the best chance of winning.

And if you feel the pressure, play the percentages. Once again, hit deep, solid groundstrokes until you get a short ball you can approach to the net with. Use your grit and determination to take the set from your opponent.

When things get tight, it is critical that you not let your opponent dictate the match (unless you know they “dictate” for a couple shots and then will make an error). If you do, he or she will gain confidence and you will expend way more energy retrieving balls all day instead of controlling the rallies.

6. During The Tiebreak

The pressure in a match peaks during tiebreakers. Both sides have battled to a stalemate, and the tiebreaker hastens the revelation of who will win the set and/or the match.

To help you succeed during tiebreaks, keep your opponent’s weaknesses in mind. Any part of your adversary’s game that you can put pressure on during the tiebreaker that may break down will give you a huge advantage.

Remember your game plan and keep sticking to what has been winning you points. Keep calm and relaxed during the tiebreak and focus on executing strategies and point patterns, rather than getting caught up in the situation.

Why do you think players who are in the zone are so successful? They are not thinking about the outcome, but executing and enjoying the process of playing the match.

7. The Start of The Set

This juncture of the match is quite different from the beginning. At this point, you’ve either won or lost the previous set, and need to start strong to build momentum for the next one.

The big mistake here that I have made many times myself, is to actually focus too much on the concept of “starting strong.” So many times in my junior and adult career, I have overemphasized the strong start in my mind and even verbally to myself. Unfortunately, the opposite usually happens when I have done this.

Once again, the reason for this issue is focusing on the results (bad!) instead of the process (good!). When it comes time to perform, think about what you need to do to get to win each point and make it happen.

Don’t get me wrong; positive thinking certainly can help your performance. But don’t stop there. Think more deeply about strategy and you will increase your chances of playing optimally. This way, you will start a set off strong without stressing out over it.

8. Closing Out the Match

As tennis players like to say, “there is no shot clock in tennis.” We can’t wait for time to expire or a referee to blow the whistle.

What you can’t do is think about winning the match. When you do this, you will forget what go you in the lead. You’ll start thinking about how you need to win, or how much the win means to you. Then nerves will set in, and you won’t be able to perform your best when it matters the most.

Instead, you must seize victory when the opportunity arises. Stick to the gameplan and you will be victorious.

It is normal to struggle during the above moments when playing a match. I hope that by identifying them and how to approach each one, you will perform more confidently and persevere when it counts the most.

You may not magically start winning every single match after reading this post. But through practice and experience in these competitive situations, you will get better at managing the pressure and will win more matches.

Formulate and execute your gameplan, go back to the basics when you start to struggle, and everything else will take care of itself.

To learn how to formulate a rock solid gameplan to help you win more tennis matches, download a free copy of my strategy guide by filling out the short form below!