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Philbo
Oct 12th, 2011, 09:43 AM
Stosur's recent win at the USO highlighted the fact that Sam had employed a sports psychologist to help her get over her well documented nerve problems...

But for those of you that play tennis, you all know just how mental tennis is, that Ive always wondered sports psych's arent employed more often, more openly, why it isnt more commonplace on the tour.

Why do you think we dont hear way more stories of players succesfully employing shrinks to help improve their results? Anyone have any good stories of players past or present who have made good use of a shrink?

Posting it here rather than GM cuz I basically think Ill get better responses here than there (hopefully its acceptable Rollo)?

Sumarokov-Elston
Oct 12th, 2011, 10:30 AM
I think Virginia Wade worked with some sort of psychologist in the months leading up to her Wimbledon victory in 1977. So that worked for her, at least in that case - it did not save her from later blowing one of the biggest leads of all time in her Whiteman Cup deciding match against Chris Evert (I think she was serving at 5-1, 40-0 in the final set and ended up losing the match). But I do think that this is what helped her win in 1977.

And of course the obvious example is Martina Navratilova.

gabybackhand
Oct 12th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Gabriela Sabatini worked with a sports psycho, Jim Loher, before and during her US Open win, you can see him in some of her matches IIRC. It seemed to work for he re her unexpected (as she was not playing well in the previous events) win, yet they didn't end up nice as Loher wrote an article about sports psychology and included some examples of his work with Sabatini, and was it was published the Sabatinis were done with him. I'll try to get that article later.

gabybackhand
Oct 12th, 2011, 02:12 PM
Oh, it was easy to find, here's the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/16/sports/views-of-sport-the-x-factor-delivers-a-championship.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Philbo
Oct 12th, 2011, 03:40 PM
Thanks Gabybackhand, that was a really interesting article!

I'd really love to hear of details of what kind of demons any particular player used a shrink to overcome. For example, if fear had to be overcome, HOW did they overcome that fear? WHAT were the fears involved? WHERE did the fear stem from? I find all this stuff fascinating but probably impossible to ever find out about because talking about this would be too intimate for most players.

I know BJK worked massively on the mental side when she came back to coach Martina going for the 9th wimbledon. One thing I recall that BJK made Martina change was to always always always STAY IN THE NOW. This was before Eckhart Tolle made 'now' trendy and popular when he wrote 'The Power of Now', an international besteller... BJK was way ahead of him when applying his principle to tennis - she knew Martina had a bad habit of imaginging the moment of winning or imaging the moment of losing while the match was still being played. BJK's key thing was for Martina to never go into the future or past, but always stay in the NOW..this point etc...

alfajeffster
Oct 12th, 2011, 10:02 PM
Stay in the now is great. One of my favorites from her is "only the ball"

Philbo
Oct 13th, 2011, 10:53 AM
Stay in the now is great. One of my favorites from her is "only the ball"
Please expand! :)

tennisvideos
Oct 13th, 2011, 02:33 PM
i wished I had of had a sports Psychologist! I have choked so many times in my career (prizemoney of $3,450) :lol:

Once I led 6-0 5-1 40-15 and choked to a friend I nearly always beat.

Another time I lost my club championship final 67 67 to a guy who I had a 50-0 H2H winning lead over. Seriously, I had never lost to this guy and we had played more than 50 times and most of our matches were very lopsied. UNTIL the big Club Championship final which meant everything to me. I was devastated.

Then again I have come back from the brink many times while my opponents seemingly choked!

So I can see how a sports Psychologist could make a HUGE difference to anyone on tour. Of course Navratilova and Stosur are the two main examples I know of but it would be interesting to know more.

Philbo
Oct 13th, 2011, 04:05 PM
i wished I had of had a sports Psychologist! I have choked so many times in my career (prizemoney of $3,450) :lol:

Once I led 6-0 5-1 40-15 and choked to a friend I nearly always beat.

Another time I lost my club championship final 67 67 to a guy who I had a 50-0 H2H winning lead over. Seriously, I had never lost to this guy and we had played more than 50 times and most of our matches were very lopsied. UNTIL the big Club Championship final which meant everything to me. I was devastated.

Then again I have come back from the brink many times while my opponents seemingly choked!

So I can see how a sports Psychologist could make a HUGE difference to anyone on tour. Of course Navratilova and Stosur are the two main examples I know of but it would be interesting to know more.
Great stories Craig, sorry to say but it gave me a chuckle you poor thing! Tell me more about the thoughts that are going through your head as your 6-0 5-1 40-15 lead is slipping away?

I think Im pretty good with the mental side, but it has been a learning process. When I first started playing GLTA tournies, I had NO IDEA how to handle the pressure. Over time though, I started to realise that CARING LESS is what helps me find that right balance. These days, Im worse at 4-4 games than I am when Im serving to close it out.

hingis-seles
Oct 13th, 2011, 04:16 PM
I've had the odd hiccup but I'm surprisingly mentally tough, even if I do say so myself. I become more daring and aggressive when I'm down matchpoint - I try not to let my opponent have any say in how the point will go and I do the craziest things (dropshots, sneak attempts into the net) to disrupt rallies.

The one time that I clearly remember gagging is serving for the match at 5-4 and after losing the first two matchpoints, whenever I'd get to matchpoint I'd be scared of blowing another one and would play VERY passively. As soon as I'd lose the point, I'd get mad at myself for being so passive but come matchpoint, I'd get scared of going for it and "blowing" another matchpoint. Once it got to 5-5, I couldn't get the matchpoints out of my head and that was the end of that.

Philbo
Oct 13th, 2011, 04:19 PM
I've had the odd hiccup but I'm surprisingly mentally tough, even if I do say so myself. I become more daring and aggressive when I'm down matchpoint - I try not to let my opponent have any say in how the point will go .
You sound very much like your hero Monica with that description! :)

gabybackhand
Oct 13th, 2011, 06:19 PM
Really interesting stuff about human psychology! Not only in tennis, but in life as you see you can have many "assets" (intelligence, money, relatives, etc.), but at the end of the day it's about how you use those assets and the willpower, which I think it's the most important thing.
Re tennis, I'm quite different from my hero Gabriela, who was far less skilled re her tennis mind than re her tennis talent. I'm pretty tough mentally, I seldom choked up leads or had difficulties to close matches, just a couple of times over the years but never a 6-1 5-1 lead, maybe just a set. And as long as the match isn't over I keep fighting, even if I'm trailing 5-0 40-0, I just don't give up and I only think: "Ganame" ("you beat me", I won't give up). I'd like to have the same attitude in life in general :lol:
I agree with Hingis-Seles, in match point down I want to have the last word, maybe not just hit a crazy winner from a difficult position, but take control of the point as early as possible. I LOVE to have the initiative during the whole match, I hate when I get passive!

Calvin M.
Oct 24th, 2011, 11:52 PM
Gabriela Sabatini worked with a sports psycho, Jim Loher, before and during her US Open win, you can see him in some of her matches IIRC. It seemed to work for he re her unexpected (as she was not playing well in the previous events) win, yet they didn't end up nice as Loher wrote an article about sports psychology and included some examples of his work with Sabatini, and was it was published the Sabatinis were done with him. I'll try to get that article later.

Loehr was spot-on about ASV: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19940907&id=XWMxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Q6IFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4092,3760121