Great that a lot of you are asking questions now. So we ‘ve overcome this hurdle, – the next one should be easier J
There were a lot of questions about struggling when it counts, or when things don’t go well.
I ‘ve made one post about this already, “Role of the mind…”. I want to expand on this a little. Please let me know if this makes enough sense, or if not keep asking.
First the very big picture:
Broadly speaking there are two ways to address these issues with the Mind, – and they are all issues with the Mind! I hope this is clear by now. A monkey or a racing horse wouldn’t have these issues, – because they are not able to think ahead and wonder what would happen if they miss this next deciding serve etc. !
This future thinking is a blessing and a curse, – one that only we know about.
So the two broad pathways you can set out on in order to understand and overcome this unhelpful mind-chatter:
- Understand why this stuff actually matters to you personally (layers of thoughts, – refer to my previous post about the mind), – and do something about this on that level : Work on your self- worth in the big picture, so loosing a game does not matter that much. Adjust some beliefs you are having, – e.g. how much it matters what others think. Then notice them come up and reassure yourself what really matters to you. So in one sentence: learn to become aware of your thoughts and beliefs and then adjust them. Sometimes what your mind says is truly crazy, so there is some easy adjustments you could make.
- Change how you relate to your thoughts. Learn to observe and notice what your mind is doing, rather than getting carried away by and consumed by it.
For this one there are again two pathways:
- Longterm: mindfulness and meditation type exercises like the one we did in the first session. They will help train your brain to ‘just observe’ and ‘let go’, rather than get ‘caught up’. By the way: Meditation is by no means a new age fringe activity anymore. Lots of tennis players in particular do it: Novak Djokovic for example.
2. Short term: Little tricks to let loose from your thoughts and your mind. Even something as simple as saying to your mind “thanks for your input, I speak to you later” , and get back to focusing on the present moment. Imagining your useless worries as clouds in the sky that move on etc… More on that when we meet next.
The next big news you need to know is:
All of this needs practise!!!
Yes sorry to say this, – but like your physical training this needs practise too. There might be the one or other little short cut that might work for some of you. Like switching from anxiety to excitement. But a lot of it, and if you want to get really good at ‘detaching’ from the mind in the right moment, needs practise!
In a way you train your brain like a muscle in your body. And it adapts a bit like a muscle does.
And of course some of you might have deeper seated issues that are not as easy to shake off. This could be the case if general well being or self esteem are tightly wrapped up in doing well all the time. It might be tricky to disentangle all of that yourselves, – so for some getting some 1:1 help might be a way to go.
But what you can do yourselves is this:
- You can practise daily for 2 x 5 min an exercise like the ‘leaf exercise’ we did in session. Or many similar ones that are around.
- You can at the end of each day reflect back on one moment when your mood changed. Could be tennis or not tennis related: All you do is practise to become aware of your mind. Everytime your mood changed your mind probably just interpreted something. So go back there and write down what it interpreted. And what this meant etc. (for more detail see the Mind post).
This way you train your awareness. Once you are good at this you are better able to change what’ s going on. More on that later.
Hope this makes sense. Any questions, – keep them coming.