Friday, March 28, 2014

Short Book Review: "Brain Alignment: The Art of Focus in Tennis"

Brain Alignment: The Art of Focus in Tennis, by Charly Rasheed, (CreateSpace: 2010)(170 pages with Glossary)(Available on Amazon.com)

Mentioned in USA Today (August 23, 2013) by Bob Bryan (of the Bryan Brothers) as a "pretty famous book in the tennis world", this little book is a fascinating read.


It's authored by Charly Rasheed, Tennis Director Pro at Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC, near Charleston.

In it, Rasheed lays out his thesis that tennis is essentially a mental, more than physical, exercise. It's played by humans who are operating on two levels at once - that we are "two selves" on the court. The first is a Logical (or mental) Self, and the other is an Athletic (or physical) Self.

Rasheed goes on the detail how this works, and launches into exercises and strategies to improve tennis performance with this knowledge. He focuses on the doubles game in particular, with suggested patterns and illustrative photographs.


Rasheed goes on to explain his "Three Fs": feet, focus and feel. He also suggests that players use "action commands" to help improve play - these are verbal on-court instructions directed from their thoughtful Logical Self to help re-train their instinctive Athletic Self.

It's an intriguing and mind-challenging approach, worth considering.

Best,
Gary

P.S.: Here's an excerpt from the book:
"Roger Federer's influence on the game of tennis stretches further than the historical implications. His technical approach to tennis is virtually flawless. Most notably, Federer's visual control at contact point is profound and something which, as a competitor and instructor, I became very interested in. At some point, no matter what ball sport we have ever participated in, we have been on the instructional receiving end of "keep your eye on the ball". Not until recently have I realized the significance of this instructional point, thus opening up a system of thought, a psychology of sport, that shows us why this game of tennis is so mental . . . [In a recent match], I was profoundly mortified that I [myself] couldn't execute the one fundamental that that I had set out to enforce: "Eyes on contact". At best, I was visually connected to contact point less than thirty percent of the time. I [was] frustrated, devastated but immensely intrigued. I began to realize that the fundamental of "eyes on contact" was not a physical exercise but 100% mental . . . I [was] to stumble on the greatest epiphany of my life in relation to tennis and sport: WE ARE TWO SELVES."
        

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tennis Quote of the Day: Confidence

"Confidence plays an enormous role in competitive performance. In the short run, it has a more powerful effect on execution than strategy or even practice. Confidence is cyclical and tends to build on itself because it comes largely from winning. It is an unconscious expectation of success.When you win, you become more confident, you play better and your results cycle upward."

--Allen Fox, Ph.D.
Coach, Psychologist, Tennis author,
and former Wimbledon Quaterfinalist
"Confidence Game", Tennis Magazine,
March-April 2014, Page 72




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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tennis Quote of the Day: Patience

"I think most of the time, patience is the key, not only in sports, but I think, in life too. Patience is one of the main ingredients to become good."
--Grigor Dimitrov
Rising ATP Tennis star, and currently ranked No. 16
Tennis View Magazine, March-April 2014, Page 68  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tennis Quote of the Day: Bobblehead Tennis

"One of the most important technical elements in [tennis] is keeping the head still on contact. Everywhere I go, I see players flailing away and jerking their heads around during the most important part of the swing. I call this bobblehead tennis. I feel that there should be much more emphasis on head still training.

I consider a still head position a hallmark in my teaching and signature for our students. The head and chin should be completely still and balanced. The eyes should be focused on the contact point for a split second after the ball is hit. Because of the weight of the head, keeping it still is critical in optimal balance.

Watching the ball into the contact point creates clean contact and minimizes mishits. Nothing will disrupt a swing more than a bobbling head. It's hard to stress the point too much. If the head jerks even slightly, it can pull the shot offline."

--Chris Lewit, Coach, Author,

and Director of Chris Lewit Tennis Academy Web:
Building a World Class One-Handed Backhand,
Web: www.TennisPlayer.net (March 2014)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tennis Quote of the Day: "Touch" and Evonne Goolagong Cawley

"In modern tennis, good hands don't get emphasized enough. Most people want to add power and heavy topspin to their game, not finesse and touch. But at the club level, feel and touch are just as important - and effective - as ever. If you want to learn more about touch, there is no better player to study than Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the former No. 1 from Australia who won seven major singles titles. [She] was as graceful as a player can be, and her hands were exceptional."

--Peter Burwash
"Learning from Legends"
Tennis Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2014, Page 80.