We have all had days when we played great, sometimes unexpectedly great.
And we have all had days when we played far far below our best level, said another way far below our expectations.
When some say the game is 95% mental, I am now coming to understand that this “mental thing” is about a mind that is quiet, free from expectation or worry, a mind that is open and totally present centered.
But from personal experience, I confess I am not always accessing that special state – but I am working on it.
That said many months ago (January of 2011 to be precise) I published an article on Ivan Lendl, and the chance that Andy Murray would then hook up with the sports psychologist who had made such a difference in Lendl’s career.
Sure enough, in October of this year (2012) Andy Murray has gone on record that he has been working with Alexis Castorri.
The following from the Independent in England is well worth reading.
Andy Murray tells BBC Scotland that he has been working with sports psychologist Alexis Castorri since the start of the season. Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl, recommended Castorri, whom he also worked with.
“I spoke about things away from the court that may affect you and stop you from being fully focused on tennis,” Murray said. “A lot of athletes use sports psychologists. I had in the past and it hadn’t worked particularly well for me. It’s something when I spoke to Ivan [about] at the beginning of the year, he’d travelled with a sports psychologist throughout his career. He asked if I was open to trying it and I said ‘yes.”
Andy Murray had doubted the value of psychologists in the past but the 25-year-old Scot revealed here last night that he has been consulting one for most of this year. Ivan Lendl, Murray’s coach, suggested that the world No 3 could benefit from seeing Alexis Castorri, a psychologist based in Fort Lauderdale who helped him during his own career.
Murray believes the sessions with Castorri have helped him on the court as well and played a significant part in his victory at the US Open last month, when he became the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title for 76 years.
“When my mind isn’t free of everything, when things might be frustrating me away from the court, I can’t focus as well as I need to,” Murray said. “When my mind’s clear, I can go on the court and play, not worry about anything else. I can play much better and think a lot better on the court.”
The basis of Castorri’s work comes from logotherapy – the idea that truly the only choice you have in life is attitude – the mental and emotional reactions you choose to the events in your day to day life.
And when it comes to playing your best tennis, to quieting your mind, and becoming present centered – it is possible for you to truly learn to “choose” this emotional state.
I published the following article January 16th – and truly I believe as regards attitude, logotherapy and Andy Murray – you read it here first!
And now if you have made a decision to work on your attitude – consider the ETI Network – we have over 30 online lesson articles devoted entirely to the “mental game.” And further, throughout the coming year I am going to work personally, as well as instructionally through this site and our online product stream, on training methods and states associated with that elusive yet oh so powerful feeling when in the “zone.”
What are your thoughts, or better yet, when have you been “in the zone?” Share your comments, this is an interesting topic.
PS. Djokovic and Wawrinka just finished a marathon 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10 match, with Novak yet again on top. Consider his 5 hour 5 set match over Murray in last years Australian Open semifinal, followed by his nearly 6 hour victory over Nadal in the finals. Couple this with his 5 set two match points down victory over Federer in the 2012 US Open semifinals, and his subsequent 5 set 5 hour victory over Nadal to capture the US Open title – and what we have here is an attitude – a commitment – a steely resolve of a player who “refuses to lose.” Amazing. Can you imagine the pressure felt by opponents as a match with Novak enters either the 5th set and or the 5th hour. Attitude – plain and simple.