How tolerant are you of differences?

I wonder if Dojokovic and Nadal would be able to find social games in many clubs around the world?

Dojokovic bounces the ball a lot of times and Nadal has so many quirks before he serves and takes a long between points!

After 50 years at clubs in numerous countries around the world, I am still amazed at how intolerant we are of those who are a little ‘different’ from ourselves. I am not sure if this was always the case or has simply intensified in the recent past.

This does not bode well for the world we live in because as technology makes our world ‘smaller’, we will come face-to-face with differences more and more and intolerance will make for volatility!

So, how tolerant are you? Perhaps, we could all make an extra effort to see differences, but not judge them negatively.

How much does it really inconvenience us in the big scheme of things if we have to adjust to others that we come across?

And please don’t forget that people’s nuisances are not designed specifically to piss you off, but to overcome their own discomfort.

Nadal has his numerous clothing adjustments not to gain a competitive edge, but to get comfortable within himself to play and I think the same is with Djokovic and his numerous bounces of the ball before he serves.

While waiting, instead of judging the other, perhaps you could experiment with focusing on your own breathing or some how connecting with your own body and see what happens.

Just a moment with yourself could center you and allow you to play your best tennis also.

Experiment, explore, enjoy!



Tip of the week: the choice between comfort and growth

Whenever I play doubles, I ask my opponent which side they prefer and when they tell me their preference, I often surprise them by saying ok then, why don’t you play the other side.

These comments are almost always greeted by some sense of disbelief, but it makes perfect sense to me.

If you play well from one side and feel uncomfortable on the other, does it not make sense to play one’s weaker side and try and improve it, especially in practice?

This is a dilemma that we are faced with almost every day of our lives in almost every aspect of our lives. In the choice between comfort and growth; it is very tempting to choose comfort, which begs the question, do we really want growth?

The reality is that when we choose comfort, we are saying no to growth, whether we realize it or not.

In a friendly conversation, if you asked people if they choose growth or comfort, I think the vast majority would say growth. It seems like the ‘right’ thing to say.

However, if we are committed to more than just the ideal of growth, then we need to seek out discomfort.

Question: who in their ‘right’ mind would seek out discomfort?

Answer: anyone interested in growth.

In tennis I see this all the time. In a clinic or lesson, individuals will run around their weak shot in order to hit their strong shot. Why is that? Surely a lesson would be the perfect time to move into discomfort, but this just does not seem the approach of most people.

Too many young players, especially today, when faced with adversity or a breakdown of a particular shot will use anger and frustration as a way of avoiding oneself and the ‘problem’.

Instead of trying to explore the situation and see what is happening, the immediate response is to extricate oneself from the situation as quickly as possible. Giving up seems an easier option than fighting or just being in that space and seeing what happens.

So, what does your behavior reveal to you, do you choose growth or comfort?




Consistency is the foundation of our game. If you cannot keep balls in play, this game is not as much fun and success will be difficult at any level.

Recreational players mostly understand this and do anything to get the ball regardless. The result is not always pretty!

Advanced players, especially juniors, do not understand this and they try and hit as hard as they can and the result is very rarely pretty!

As always the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Yes, consistency is important, but only after the swing is in place. To focus on consistency immediately and before other foundational things are in place, such as contact, movement and a somewhat relaxed state of mind, is a recipe for disaster or certainly stagnation and arm injuries.

So recreational players need to first focus on themselves before they focus on what’s going on ‘out there’. In other words, get comfortable making contact with the ball and moving around before paying too much attention to where the ball is going.

More ‘advanced’ players need to focus more on ‘out there’. Once, you have a fairly decent swing, instead of jumping straight into trying to hit the ball like the pros, spend a ‘substantial’ amount of time hitting down the middle of the court and 3 feet over the net.

This step in the developing process is often missed altogether. I think, depending on how often you play, this step could last as long as 6 months to a couple of years.

Who has the patience? As this step is progressing you can still play matches and enter tournaments, but just keep balls in play and maintain your good swing and allow it to develop in a natural way. Avoid elaborate tactics and strategy and run everything down and focus on consistency, with a good swing.

In my understanding, this will lay a solid foundation for players and where they go from there will be limited only by their talent, determination and desire.

Enjoy the journey!

Tip of the week: establishing a baseline

Tip of the week: establishing a baseline

Many players when they get tight or nervous rush towards the ball and this makes timing difficult and it also makes it impossible to swing freely at the ball.

Every player should understand and be aware of their own baseline.

Nadal’s baseline is different from Fed’s. There is no one right baseline for every player and your baseline may vary depending on your opponent.

The sense of waiting that arises when you have a baseline can be uncomfortable at first, but when you connect to the waiting and become aware of it, it will change the way you feel on the court.

Instead of constantly feeling rushed, you will feel you have so much time and that will help to produce much better shots.

Explore this on the court as you play and see what happens!

Tip of the week: the role of emotions in competition!

The role of emotions in competition

Emotions, specifically ‘negative’ emotions, have always been considered a hindrance to peak athletic performance. As a result, there has always been an attempt to suppress, escape or move to a more ‘positive’ mindset from the chaotic emotional experience that often arises during competition.

While this makes complete logical sense, does it work?

Keep trying it to see if it works and if, in your experience, it does not, perhaps then you will be ready to try a different approach.

Another approach would be to look for the role emotions play? What is their purpose? They are there for everyone and must be fulfilling some purpose.

The only way to know the answer to these questions is to live the experience fully when the emotions arise. This is more difficult than it sounds.

What sane person wants to be remain in the discomfort we feel when we are in the grips of anger, frustration, fear, nervousness, etc?

It seems quite logical to want to get out of the discomfort the moment it arises.

And yet, we don’t invite these emotions, they come out of nothing and it is our job, perhaps, to discover what purpose they are fulfilling and see where that takes us.

In order to do that all we can do is to live these and all emotions fully and explore whatever arises for us.

enjoy the journey………….