Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category

Are manners going to the wayside?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – September 14, 2009 – Bo Emerson – Bad manners, like swine flu, must be very contagious.

First, a South Carolina congressman shouts an insult at the president. Next, tennis star Serena Williams uses profanity while threatening harm to a line judge at the U.S. Open Saturday night.

Then hip hop star Kanye West grabs the microphone from teenager Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards Sunday to suggest she didn’t deserve to win.

Are we turning into a nation of oafs?

“We’re continuing to get more and more vulgar,â€? said John Murray, a tennis coach and clinical psychologist who wrote the book “Smart Tennis.â€?

Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and member of the etiquette empire, said mildly of Serena Williams, “She didn’t choose the best words to affect the outcome of that situation.â€?

And of West’s outburst, Post added, “that’s just plain disrespectful.â€?

But Post stopped short of claiming that manners have reached a new low. “When you look at etiquette, I see people standing up for the right thing and calling these people out.â€?

Indeed, the crowd at the video awards show continued to boo West as his name came up during the evening. West apologized on his blog later, writing, “I’m sooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans.â€?

Williams issued a statement claiming that she was carried away by the heat of the moment, and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), apologized to the president, though he resisted Democratic demands that he apologize before the full House. Democrats in South Carolina noted that Wilson’s opponent in the upcoming election raked in about $100,000 in new donations immediately after the shout down.

Certainly public officials have behaved uglier on occasion. Even in South Carolina.

In 1856, Preston Brooks, Democratic Congressman from South Carolina, felt insulted by a speech from abolitionist Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, and two days later beat the Northerner nearly to death with his gold-headed walking cane. This made Brooks a hero in his home state.

Murray believes part of the fuss over Serena Williams’ verbal assault is the fact that she’s a female tennis player. He said the tantrums thrown by such tennis stars as John McEnroe, Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors in 1970s and ‘80s outstrip most of the behavior on the court today.

The famously combative McEnroe now has his own talk show.

“If you look at our history we’re a rebellious people,â€? said Murray, the Palm Beach, Fla.-based sports psychologist. “We’re tea-in-the-harbor and telling people to get lost. We have a little John McEnroe in all of us.â€?

New Travel Category

Sports Psychology Special to JohnFMurray.com – Today we added a new category for articles, videos and audios related to travel with sports psychologist Dr. John F Murray.

Here is a link to the YouTube travel videos.

Hope you enjoy this emerging section on travel with a sports psychologist.

Postcard from Sweden

Sports psychology travel fun from Dr. John F Murray, a Palm Beach, Florida clinical and sports psychologist during his trip to Sweden.

Click here for your Postcard from Stockholm, Sweden

Hope you enjoyed this video from a sports psychologist

NFL is Number One on SportsPro Ranking of World’s 200 Most Valuable Sports Properties

Sports psychology special for JohnFMurray.com – SportsPro Magazine ranked the world’s 200 most valuable sports properties in their July issue. This a fun and fascinating list and all people interested in sports should consider a subscription to this London based magazine (editors Adam Nethersole and David Cushnan) read by the top executives in many sports worldwide. Enjoy the story below.

SportsPro magazine has published the world’s first ranking of sports properties in its July issue. Unsurprisingly, the National Football League (NFL) is ranked as the world’s most valuable sports property, with a value of US$4.5 billion. It is followed at the top of the table by three other American properties – Major League Baseball (MLB) (US$3.9 billion), the NBA (US$3.35 billion) and Nascar (US$1.9 billion).

The newest property in the list is the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is valued at US$1.6 billion – a staggering achievement for a two-year-old property.

The highest ranked European team property is the Ferrari Formula One team (7th) at a value of US$1.55 billion, followed by Manchester United Football Club (8th) at US$1.495 billion. The most valuable American sports club is the Dallas Cowboys (10th), the NFL team, valued at US$1.278 billion.

Tiger Woods (11th) is the highest rated athlete property with a value of US$1.25 billion, followed by Jack Nicklaus (16th) at US$1 billion. Golfers dominate the athletes’ table because of the high earnings from designing golf courses; Tiger Woods is expected to earn over a billion dollars from designing courses in the next decade and will almost certainly eclipse his on-course earnings. David and Victoria’s Beckham Brand Ltd property (88th) is valued at US$375 million.

Many single annual events appear, led by the Wimbledon tennis championships (22nd) valued at US$900 million.

Unsurprisingly, the most valuable competition is the Fifa World Cup (5th) valued at US$1.7 billion, ahead of the Summer Olympic Games (15th) at US$1.04 billion. The Uefa Champions League (13th) is valued at US$1.1 billion, eclipsing the Summer Olympics due to its annual status.

OVERALL TABLE (200) (Top Ten tables below)

1 National Football League; 32 NFL franchises Football – US$4.5 billion
2 Major League Baseball; 32 MLB franchises Baseball – US$3.936 billion
3 National Basketball Association; 30 NBA franchises Basketball – US$2.344 billion
4 Nascar France family; Motorsport – US$1.9 billion
5 Fifa World Cup; Fifa Soccer – US$1.7 billion
6 Indian Premier League BCCI (India) Cricket US$1.6 billion
7 Scuderia Ferrari; Fiat Motorsport – US$1.55 billion
8 Manchester United FC; Malcolm Glazer Soccer – US$1.495 billion
9 Formula One; CVC/Royal Bank of Scotland Motorsport – US$1.45 billion
10 Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Football US$1.278 billion
11 ETW Corp/Tiger Woods Design Tiger Woods Golf US$1.25 billion
12 New York Yankees George Steinbrenner Baseball US$1.19 billion
13 Uefa Champions League Uefa Soccer US$1.1 billion
14 Real Madrid Club Members Soccer US$1.073 billion
15 Olympic Games (Summer) International Olympic Committee Multi-Sports US$1.024 billion
16 Nicklaus Design and Golf Equipmt Jack Nicklaus Golf US$1 billion
17 Washington Redskins Daniel Snyder Football US$999 million
18 PGA Tour PGA of America Golf US$970 million
19 New York Giants John Mara/Steven Tisch Football US$932 million
20 New York Jets Robert Wood Johnson IV Football US$927 million
21 Arsenal FC Stan Kroenke Soccer US$910 million
22 The Wimbledon Championships All England Lawn Tennis Club Tennis US$900 million
23 US Tennis Open United States Tennis Association Tennis US$880 million
24 New England Patriots Robert Kraft Football US$861 million
25 World Wrestling Entertainment McMahon Family Wrestling US$837 million
26 Miami Dolphins Wayne Huizenga/Stephen Ross Football US$828 million
27 Liverpool FC George Gillett/Tom Hicks Soccer US$801 million
28 Arnold Palmer Design Arnold Palmer Enterprises Golf US$800 million
29 Great White Shark Enterprises Greg Norman Golf US$800 million
30 Uefa European Championship Uefa Soccer US$800 million
31 FC Barcelona Club Members Soccer US$793 million
32 AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi Soccer US$774 million
33 National Hockey League 30 NHL franchises Ice Hockey US$760 million
34 Rugby World Cup Rugby World Cup Ltd/IRB Rugby Union US$750 million
35 The Masters Augusta National Golf Club Golf US$750 million
36 Michael Jordan Michael Jordan/Nike Basketball US$725 million
37 Houston Texans Robert McNair Football US$725 million
38 Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie Football US$723 million
39 FC Bayern Munich Club members Soccer US$721 million
40 ICC World Cup International Cricket Council Cricket US$700 million
41 ATP World Tour Assoc. of Tennis Professionals Tennis US$700 million
42 Indianapolis Colts James Irsay Football US$699 million
43 Chicago Bears McCaskey Family Football US$692 million
44 Baltimore Ravens Stephen Bisciotti Football US$690 million
45 Denver Broncos Patrick Bowlen Football US$689 million
46 Tampa Bay Buccanneers Malcolm Glazer Football US$685 million
47 Carolina Panthers Jerry Richardson Football US$676 million
48 Cleveland Browns Randy Lerner Football US$673 million
49 New York Mets Fred Wilpon Baseball US$665 million
50 Green Bay Packers Shareholders Football US$664 million
51 Kansas City Chiefs Hunt Family Football US$660 million
52 Pittsburgh Steelers Rooney Family Football US$659 million
53 Seattle Seahawks Paul Allen Football US$657 million
54 Boston Red Sox John Henry/Thomas Werner Baseball US$651 million
55 Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich Soccer US$634 million
56 Cincinnati Bengals Michael Brown Football US$612 million
57 New Orleans Saints Thomas Benson Football US$608 million
58 St Louis Rams Chip Rosenbloom/Stan Kroenke Football US$603 million
59 Detroit Lions William Clay Ford Football US$597 million
60 Arizona Cardinals William Bidwell Football US$594 million
61 Team McLaren-Mercedes; Mercedes/Mumtalakat/Ron Dennis/Mansour Ojjeh Motorsport – US$580 million
62 San Diego Chargers Alexander Spanos Football US$577 million
63 Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Jr. Football US$574 million
64 Tennessee Titans Kenneth Adams Jr. Football US$569 million
65 Atlanta Falcons Arthur Blank Football US$567 million
66 San Francisco 49ers Denise DeBartolo York Football US$561 million
67 Oakland Raiders Allen Davis Football US$559 million
68 Minnesota Vikings Wilf Family Football US$545 million
69 Monaco Grand Prix; Automobile Club de Monaco Motorsport – US$520 million
70 Olympic Games (Winter) International Olympic Committee Multi-Sports US$504 million
71 America’s Cup Société Nautique de Genève Sailing US$500 million
72 Golden Boy Promotions Oscar de la Hoya Boxing US$500 million
73 Ryder Cup PGA of America/PGA European Tour Golf US$500 million
74 Jacksonville Jaguars Wayne Weaver Football US$497 million
75 Internazionale Massimo Moratti Soccer US$481 million
76 Juventus Agnelli Family Soccer US$476 million
77 Los Angeles Dodgers Frank McCourt Baseball US$469 million
78 Chicago Cubs Tom Ricketts Baseball US$455 million
79 Commonwealth Games Commonwealth Games Federation Multi-Sports US$450 million
80 New York Knicks Cablevision Systems Basketball US$405 million
81 Australian Open Tennis Australia Tennis US$400 million
82 LeBron James LeBron James Basketball US$400 million
83 Six Nations Six Nations Rugby Ltd. Rugby Union US$400 million
84 Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf Basketball US$399 million
85 Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver Basketball US$381 million
86 WTA Tour Women’s Tennis Association Tennis US$380 million
87 Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss/Philip Anschutz Basketball US$379 million
88 Beckham Brand Ltd. David Beckham/Victoria Beckham Soccer US$375 million
89 Detroit Pistons Karen Davidson Basketball US$374 million
90 Boston Celtics Wycliffe Grousbeck Basketball US$353 million
91 Major League Soccer MLS Soccer US$350 million
92 Tour de France Amaury Sport Organisation Cycling US$350 million
93 Hendrick Motorsports; Rick Hendrick Motorsport – US$335 million
94 AS Roma Sensi Family Soccer US$331 million
95 FC Schalke 04 Club members Soccer US$331 million
96 MotoGP; Dorna Sports Motorsport – US$330 million
97 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Arturo Moreno Baseball US$330 million
98 Toronto Maple Leafs Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Ice Hockey US$325 million
99 Philadelphia Phillies William Giles Baseball US$322 million
100 St Louis Cardinals William DeWitt Jr. Baseball US$315 million
101 Roush Fenway Racing; Jack Roush/John Henry Motorsport – US$313 million
102 Asian Games Olympic Council of Asia Multi-Sports US$310 million
103 Indianapolis 500; Tony George Motorsport – US$310 million
104 Cleveland Cavaliers Daniel Gilbert Basketball US$310 million
105 San Francisco Giants William Neukom/Susan Burns Baseball US$305 million
106 Houston Rockets Leslie Alexander Basketball US$304 million
107 Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban Basketball US$304 million
108 Copa America Conmebol Soccer US$300 million
109 French Open French Tennis Federation Tennis US$300 million
110 PGA European Tour PGA European Tour Golf US$300 million
111 Ultimate Fighting Championship Zuffa LLC Martial Arts US$300 million
112 Chicago White Sox Jerry Reinsdorf Baseball US$292 million
113 New York Rangers Cablevision Systems Ice Hockey US$291 million
114 Atlanta Braves Liberty Media Baseball US$289 million
115 Houston Astros Robert Drayton McLane Jr. Baseball US$288 million
116 Seattle Mariners Nintendo Baseball US$277 million
117 San Antonio Spurs Peter Holt Basketball US$269 million
118 Washington Nationals Theodore Lerner Baseball US$264 million
119 Texas Rangers Tom Hicks Baseball US$262 million
120 Singapore Grand Prix; Ong Beng Seng/Singapore Government Motorsport – US$261 million
121 Baltimore Orioles Peter Angelos Baseball US$260 million
122 Cleveland Indians Lawrence Dolan Baseball US$260 million
123 San Diego Padres John Moores Baseball US$260 million
124 Toronto Raptors Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Basketball US$260 million
125 Panathinaikos Giannis Vardinagiannis Soccer US$254 million
126 Arizona Diamondbacks Ken Kendrick Baseball US$253 million
127 The Open Championship Royal & Ancient Golf US$252 million
128 Tottenham Hotspur FC Daniel Levy Soccer US$250 million
129 Colorado Rockies Charles Monfort/Richard Monfort Baseball US$241 million
130 BMW-Sauber F1 Team; BMW Group Motorsport – US$240 million
131 Detroit Tigers Michael Illitch Baseball US$240 million
132 Philadelphia 76ers Comcast Spectacor Basketball US$234 million
133 Utah Jazz Miller Family Basketball US$233 million
134 Minnesota Twins James Pohland Baseball US$232 million
135 Toronto Blue Jays Rogers Communications Baseball US$229 million
136 Washington Wizards Abe Pollin Basketball US$229 million
137 Sacramento Kings Maloof Family Basketball US$227 million
138 Orlando Magic Richard DeVos Basketball US$226 million
139 Milwaukee Brewers Mark Attanasio Baseball US$225 million
140 Cincinnati Reds Robert Castellini Baseball US$222 million
141 Renault F1 Team; Renault Motorsport – US$220 million
142 Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar Cricket US$220 million
143 Golden State Warriors Christopher Cohan Basketball US$217 million
144 Montreal Canadiens George Gillett Ice Hockey US$217 million
145 Denver Nuggets Stan Kroenke Basketball US$213 million
146 Tampa Bay Rays Stuart Sternberg Baseball US$208 million
147 Oakland Athletics Lewis Wolff/John Fisher Baseball US$207 million
148 Kansas City Royals David Glass Baseball US$204 million
149 Manchester City FC Abu Dhabi United Investment Group Soccer US$202 million
150 Australian Football League AFL AFL US$200 million
151 English FA Cup English Football Association Soccer US$200 million
152 FC Porto FCPorto SAD Soccer US$200 million
153 Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Spirit Basketball US$199 million
154 Portland Trail Blazers Paul Allen Basketball US$199 million
155 Miami Heat Micky Arison Basketball US$196 million
156 Detroit Red Wings Michael Illitch Ice Hockey US$196 million
157 Indiana Pacers Herbert Simon/Melvin Simon Basketball US$196 million
158 Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling Basketball US$195 million
159 Aston Villa FC Randy Lerner Soccer US$195 million
160 Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor Basketball US$195 million
161 Oklahoma City Thunder Clay Bennett Basketball US$195 million
162 Memphis Grizzlies Michael Heisley Basketball US$191 million
163 New Jersey Nets Bruce Ratner Basketball US$191 million
164 Werder Bremen Werder Bremen and Co. Ltd. Soccer US$190 million
165 Fenerbahce Fenerbahce S.K. Soccer US$190 million
166 Toyota Racing; Toyota Motor Corp. Motorsport – US$190 million
167 Volvo Ocean Race; Volvo Event Management UK Sailing – US$190 million
168 Pittsburgh Pirates Robert Nutting Baseball US$188 million
169 Charlotte Bobcats Robert Johnson Basketball US$184 million
170 New Orleans Hornets George Shinn/Gary Chouest Basketball US$184 million
171 Milwaukee Bucks Herbert Kohl Basketball US$180 million
172 Florida Marlins Jeffrey Loria Baseball US$179 million
173 Philadelphia Flyers Comcast Spectacor Ice Hockey US$178 million
174 Dallas Stars Tom Hicks Ice Hockey US$177 million
175 Celtic FC Dermot Desmond Soccer US$172 million
176 VfB Stuttgart Club members Soccer US$171 million
177 Boston Bruins Jeremy Jacobs Ice Hockey US$170 million
178 Hamburger FC Club members Soccer US$165 million
179 Galatasaray Galatasaray SK Soccer US$160 million
180 Vancouver Canucks Francesco Aquilini Ice Hockey US$153 million
181 Borussia Dortmund Borussia Dortmund GmbH Motorsport US$150 million
182 Colorado Avalanche Stan Kroenke Ice Hockey US$150 million
183 Olympique Lyonnais Jean-Michel Aulas Soccer US$150 million
184 New Jersey Devils Jeffrey Vanderbeek Ice Hockey US$144 million
185 Olympique de Marseille Robert Louis-Dreyfus Soccer US$141 million
186 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Teresa Earnhardt Motorsport – US$140 million
187 Minnesota Wild Craig Leipold/Philip Falcone Ice Hockey US$140 million
188 Los Angeles Kings Philip Anschutz Ice Hockey US$136 million
189 Everton FC Bill Kenwright Soccer US$133 million
190 Ottawa Senators Eugene Melnyk Ice Hockey US$133 million
191 Chicago Blackhawks Wirtz Family Ice Hockey US$132 million
192 Anaheim Ducks Henry Samueli/Susan Samueli Ice Hockey US$131 million
193 Calgary Flames Calgary Flames LP Ice Hockey US$131 million
194 Tampa Bay Lightning Oren Koules/Len Barrie Ice Hockey US$130 million
195 Glasgow Rangers FC Sir David Murray Soccer US$126million
196 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux/Ronald Burkle Ice Hockey US$126 million
197 Newcastle United FC Mike Ashley Soccer US$120 million
198 Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant Basketball US$120 million
199 San Jose Sharks Kevin Compton/Greg Jamison Ice Hockey US$116 million
200 Penske Racing; Roger Penske Motorsport – US$115 million

TOP TEN LEAGUE PROPERTIES
Rank Property Owner/Majority Shareholder Sport Value
1 (1) National Football League 32 NFL franchises Football US$4.5 billion
2 (2) Major League Baseball 30 MLB franchises Baseball US$3.936 billion
3 (3) National Basketball Assoc. 30 NBA franchises Basketball US$2.344 billion
4 (4) Nascar France family Motorsport US$1.9 billion
5 (6) Indian Premier League BCCI (India) Cricket US$1.6 billion
6 (9) Formula One CVC/RBS/Ecclestone Motorsport US$1.45 billion
7 (13) Uefa Champions League Uefa Soccer US$1.1 billion
8 (18) PGA Tour PGA of America Golf US$970 million
9 (33) National Hockey League 30 NHL franchises Ice Hockey US$760 million
10 (41) ATP World Tour Association of Tennis Prof Tennis US$700 million

TOP TEN TEAM PROPERTIES
Rank Property Owner/Major Shareholder Sport Value
1 (7) Scuderia Ferrari Fiat Motorsport US$1.55 billion
2 (8) Manchester United FC Malcolm Glazer Soccer US$1.495 billion
3 (10) Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones Football US$1.278 billion
4 (12) New York Yankees George Steinbrenner Baseball US$1.19 billion
5 (14) Real Madrid Club Members Soccer US$1.073 billion
6 (17) Washington Redskins Daniel Snyder Football US$999 million
7 (19) New York Giants John Mara/Steven Tisch Football US$932 million
8 (20) New York Jets Robert Wood Johnson IV Football US$927 million
9 (21) Arsenal FC Stan Kroenke Soccer US$910 million
10 (24) New England Patriots Robert Kraft Football US$861 million

TOP TEN INDIVIDUAL ATHLETE PROPERTIES
Rank Property Owner/Major Shareholder Sport Value
1 (11) ETW Corp/Tiger Woods Design Tiger Woods Golf US$1.25 billion
2 (16) Nicklaus Design Jack Nicklaus Golf US$1 billion
3 (28) Arnold Palmer Design Arnold Palmer Golf US$800 million
4 (29) Great White Shark Enterprises Greg Norman Golf US$800 million
5 (36) Michael Jordan Michael Jordan/Nike Basketball US$725 million
6 (72) Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya Boxing US$500 million
7 (82) LeBron James LeBron James Basketball US$400 million
8 (88) Beckham Brand Ltd David and Victoria Beckham Soccer US$375 million
9 (142) Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar Cricket US$220 million
10 (198) Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant Basketball US$120 million

TOP TEN ANNUAL TOURNAMENT PROPERTIES
Rank Property Owner/Major Shareholder Sport Value
1 (22) The Wimbledon Championships All England Lawn Tennis Club Tennis US$900 million
2 (23) US Tennis Open United States Tennis Association Tennis US$880 million
3 (35) The Masters Augusta National Golf Club Golf US$750 million
4 (69) Monaco Grand Prix Automobile Club de Monaco Motorsport US$520 million
5 (81) Australian Open Tennis Australia Tennis US$400 million
6 (83) Six Nations Six Nations Rugby Ltd. Rugby Union US$400 million
7 (92) Tour de France Amaury Sport Organisation Cycling US$350 million
8 (109) French Open French Tennis Federation Tennis US$300 million
9 (120) Singapore Grand Prix Ong Beng Seng/Singapore Government Motorsport US$261 million
10 (127) The Open Championship Royal & Ancient Golf US$252 million

Hope you enjoyed this report from a sports psychologist!

AGASSI’S ELITE MINDSET – SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY BY DR JOHN F MURRAY

Sports Psychology Column – May 1, 2003 – By Dr. John F. Murray – Andre Agassi just became the first man to repeat as champion of the NASDAQ-100 in Key Biscayne with his 6-3, 6-3 thrashing of Carlos Moya.

He left the tournament 18-1 on the ATP circuit this year, leading all players. What is it that makes this special individual so mentally strong? What kind of audacity does he possess to keep on pushing for greater and greater heights at age 33? By reviewing Agassi’s on-court performance, and then listening to his post-match comments, let’s shed light on the mindse of a very rare master who constantly finds ways to play smarter tennis. Enjoy the clinic!

Andre Agassi just became the first man to repeat as champion of the NASDAQ-100 in Key Biscayne with his 6-3, 6-3 thrashing of Carlos Moya. He left the tournament 18-1 on the ATP circuit this year, leading all players. What is it that makes this special individual so mentally strong? What kind of audacity does he possess to keep on pushing for greater and greater heights at age 33? By reviewing Agassi’s on-court performance, and then listening to his post-match comments, let’s shed light on the mindset of a very rare master who constantly finds ways to play smarter tennis. Enjoy the clinic!

Agassi found a way to dominate Moya in most phases of the game. Let’s start with the accuracy of his serve. His 69% first serve percentage, 8 Aces, and 1 double fault all reflect pure excellence and flawless execution on a very windy day. His service accuracy was his biggest weapon rather than dominating pace. Moya actually served much faster at 119 mph. Agassi only averaged 104, but he was deadly accurate.

Coaches are right on in saying that consistency is a huge weapon in tennis! Consistency in making the correct decision on where to hit the serve. Consistency in executing the shot. Consistency in hitting more winners than unforced errors. Agassi had 28 winners to only 13 unforced errors, whereas Moya had 14 winners to 20 unforced errors.

Agassi was also more aggressive on his groundstrokes, slightly more accurate on his approach shots, and dominant once he got to the net, winning on 93% of his approaches.

The bottom line is that Agassi played better tennis. But that is just what you see. What was going on in his mind? What kind of attitude did he take to this match long before he hit any balls? This is the unseen advantage that is often overlooked.

Let’s go to the post-match press conference and identify some sport psychology principles present in Agassi’s mindset:

Turning Adversity into Advantage

The wind was a beast. Agassi didn’t see it that way. He said “today was certainly a great day for me, serving-wise. I think specifically because it was breezy. Any time you can get a good percentage of first serves in, especially on key points, in windy conditions, it’s a big advantage. I did that well today.” What an amazing attitude. Something we can all learn from. Rather than making excuses, how about realizing there is a silver lining in that cloud!

Staying Hopeful and Confident

The way we frame things is often more important than the supposed actual reality. Agassi stays very positive in his thinking. Asked about the upcoming clay season, he said “I feel great about how I feel mentally a very positive going on to the clay season, hopeful that everything is going to stay together.” Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can or think you are right.” Agassi thinks like Ford did, and how you should too.

Not Over-thinking in a Match

Despite all the great mental tips and suggestions, once a match begins it auto-pilot time. Its much better to just play tennis and let habits take over than to over-think. Agassi said “I try not to assess how I’m playing until after the fact. And then after the fact, I can look at it and be objective.”

Focusing without Fear

Agassi knows what it means to stay focused without letting fear intrude. In discussing the number of matches he had to play in a row in close proximity he said, “there’s nothing really about it that you worry about getting through so many matches, so you just focus on executing opportunities that you do get and try to create as many as possible.” So many players worry. Keep it simple and keep the focus on what you are doing now.

Remaining Extremely Confident

Agassi assumes someone else is going to have to play well to beat him! Listen to this comment “I’m thinking about preparing myself properly to be at my best for Paris; to make somebody play a great match to beat me. It’s as simple as that.” Wow. Enough said.

Working Hard

Throw out all the mental tips in the world if you dont work! When asked if he had found the fountain of youth and was just not telling anyone, Agassi smirked and said “No, no, it’s hard work.”

Agassi blew away Moya with a precise combination of physical and mental superiority. If you look at his accuracy and consistency in executing shots, then review his attitudes and insights, you soon realize that the mental game is much more than a few clever suggestions to play smart tennis. The thoughts, feelings, habits and sensations actually control the actions. When it all works together brilliantly, you get Agassi, an ever improving legend in our midst.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into sports psychology.

SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY AT THE DELRAY BEACH INTERNATIONAL TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 2003

Sports Psychology Column – Apr 1, 2003 – By Dr. John F. Murray – It’s been a while since I’ve posted an article! It’s great to be back this month to talk about sport psychology in Delray Beach, the closest tournament to my home, for the third straight year.

I recently attended the International Tennis Championships of Delray Beach. Writing about this event and working with players here the past few years, I think I’m starting to enjoy Delray Beach more than the US Open! The tennis is so up close and personal, players, coaches and fans intermingle freely, and the practice courts are as interesting to watch as center court on Sunday. Thanks again go to Co-Tournament directors Mark Baron and Fred Stolle for this gift of superior tennis, and to Lisa Franson for her wonderful efforts and for keeping us all in line in the media center.

Some of you may have noticed the increase in awareness among players and coaches about the essential role of sport psychology in player development and performance. Everyone is collaborating to offer the best in mental training to the players. Players benefit most from a team strategy where coaches, parents, sports psychologists, physical trainers, and others work more as a team for mutual success.

I’m always refining my understanding of what it means to perform well mentally. Much of this is acquired through talking with the best players and observing their play. Last year in Delray Beach, for instance, players shared their insights with me about how to close out a match, something I call the “killer instinct.” This year, I looked for action, watching for on-court examples of mental strength. I’ll share these in the article. Let’s take a look at how players in this year’s singles matches displayed or failed to display six of the important psychological skills. Whether you’re a coach, player, or parent, these examples will help you reach a higher level in all your pursuits.

Passion

Robert Kendrick displayed enormous heart and passion, winning six straight matches and reaching the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Jan Michael Gambill. He truly seemed to be having fun out there with his winning personality and love of the game. His talents will only get better with than kind of attitude. Passion is a good starting place for many accomplishments.

Resiliency

Paul Goldstein, Michael Llorda, Ricardo Mello, and Robert Kendrick all showed amazing resiliency in bouncing back from the adversity of losing a set to qualify for the main draw. Goldstein earned his berth by roaring back from a first set loss to win strong 6-0, 6-1 against Frantisek Cermak. Kendrick overcame a first set loss to Michael Russell, Mello recovered from a second set loss to Jose De Armas, and Llorda came back after losing 1-6 in the first set to Alex Bogomolov. These players are all filled with an abundance of resiliency. The message is to never give up – no matter what the score – and see adversity as opportunity.

Emotional Control

It’s very important to keep the emotions in check – and anger is a common problem at all levels. In first round action, Nicolas Kiefer became visibly angry a few times on critical points against Jan Michael Gambill. Leading 2-1 in the second set, his obvious anger disrupted his play and lead to two careless errors on ensuing points. Later with the score tied 4-4 he again lost his cool, smacking flowers with his racket. End result, Gambill’s relative emotional control persevered, and Jan Michael went on to win his second Delray Beach title.

Focus

Marcello Rios made it to the semi-finals with a fine display of focus, taking out Morrison, Verkerk, and Lee before succumbing to the surprising Mardy Fish. One could see the focus in Rios’ eyes the moment he stepped onto the tournament site. He looked like a man possessed, on a mission to win! His focus continued well into the tournament as he resisted visual distractions left and right, he held off serving and returning until he was completely ready, and he controlled his eyes in between points be focusing on the strings. Proper focus needs to be practiced just like a forehand or backhand.

Confidence

Mardy Fish, for his part, gained a ton of confidence from the support of his friends, family and local buddies painted with the letters F-I-S-H-Y in a cheering section. He earned his first final of his career and gave Gambill a run for his money in the second set. In the press conference following the match, Fishy showed why he is a force to reckon with for many years to come. He was not only confident on court, but modest in describing his abilities afterward. This talent will continue to rise.

Killer Instinct

Flavio Saretta seemed to lack killer instinct after winning the first set in the quarters against Gambill. Many would later say that he tanked the final set which he lost 6-0. While I am not one to judge whether this is true or not, it was curious that Saretta’s head dropped, his intensity wavered and his sense of urgency in the third set appeared nonexistent. When you are up you have to know how to close out an opponent. When you are down, keep on fighting. Love challenges, especially when the going gets rough, and you’ll be in a great place mentally.

If you want a suntan and some great tennis in March, come down and to the International Tennis Championships. Delray Beach is a great resort town by the sea with cozy restaurants and a European downtown feel. The tennis is up-close and excellent. Keep pushing your mental skills to a higher level and I’ll see you again soon!

This was an article on sports psychology.

SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY AT THE DELRAY BEACH INTERNATIONAL TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2002

Sports Psychology Column – Apr 2, 2002 – By Dr. John F. Murray – South Florida was recently invaded by some of the top tennis players in the world in three consecutive tournaments. I had the privilege to work with players and cover the International Tennis Championships of Delray Beach for the Tennis Server. I also made it to the new $50,000 Challenger of North Miami Beach (won by Vince Spadea) and the NASDAQ 100 on Key Biscayne (won by Serena Williams and Andre Agassi) in which I interviewed four top players for a story in USTA Magazine. In this edition of Mental Equipment, I focus on the highlights of the Delray Beach event.

While I tend to view tennis from a somewhat nontraditional mental lens, more players are explaining that the mental game cannot be ignored. I interviewed many top 100 players again this year. I began by asking each player how important (in percentages) they felt their mental game is to success on the ATP or WTA Tour. The lowest response was 70% while the highest was 99%! While many players are working with a sport psychologist or practicing mental skills regularly, a surprising number still take a more casual and irregular approach to mental training even though they acknowledge the extreme importance.

Called the Citrix Tennis Championships the past couple years, and now seeking a new title sponsor, this tournament never ceases to thrill. Stephan Koubek captivated the crowd two years ago with his passionate three-set victory over Alex Calatrava, while Jan Michael Gambill fought off Xavier Malisse in the finals last year after surviving multiple match points. Would one of these two fighters prevail” or would there be a new champion in this beautiful town on the ocean?

Mark Baron and Fred Stolle co-directed another fine week of tennis for this growing International Series event. Another round of applause is due tireless media director Lisa Franson. Thanks go out to Cliff Kurtzman and the Tennis Server for media credentials, and I again appreciate all the players who spent time talking tennis. I also enjoyed discussing injuries with ATP trainer Bill Norris, and enjoyed meeting Director of Sales Ivan Baron, and Iggy Jovanovic from the ATP.

Marius Barnard is a solid doubles player who has been on the tour since 1988. We talked for 30 minutes about his career and the trials and tribulations of travel and competition. He is an impressive person who is beginning to ponder what life will be like after tennis. I enjoyed his views on the mental game and motivation, and how he sometimes performs better when he stops trying so hard. He expressed a possible interest in becoming a sport psychologist” and we need more of them. If you’re reading Marius, call me anytime. I will trade you sport psychology tips for an improved backhand topspin!

I really enjoyed talking with Michael Llorda, Stefan Koubek, Kristian Pless, Paul Goldstein, Scott Humphries, Andrei Stoliarov, Michael Russell, Mardy Fish, Jeff Morrison, Nicolas Massu, Leander Paes, Davide Sanguinetti, Jarkko Nieminen and Tom Vanhoudt. I enjoyed picking many of their brains for their keys to mental strength.

I focused this year on the topics of match preparation and closing out the opponent (the killer instinct).

Top seeds this year were (1) Roddick (2) Gambill (3) Koubek (4) Massu (5) Sanguinetti (6) Burgsmuller (7) Nieminen and (7) Hipfl.

Qualifying Rounds

The qualifying rounds are often more fun and competitive than main draw matches. The top four qualifiers, earning entry into the main draw, were American Chris Woodruff, Feliciano Lopez of Spain, Alexandre Simoni of Brazil and Martin Verkerk of the Netherlands.

A rising star among the youngest crop of players is Eric Nunez who lost in the first round of the qualifying tournament to Simoni. Nunez won the first set 6-1 and almost won the second, losing 7-6. In the third set he was ahead 4-3, seeming to dominate in many ways, before he had to retire due to muscle cramps. Watch out for this pesky American from Florida. He is coached by his father, Colon, who coached Andre Gomez to a French Open championship over Andre Agassi in 1990. In my humble opinon, this kid Eric has the raw tools to be great.

Feliciano Lopez is another rising Spaniard. After qualifying with wins over Scott Draper, George Bastl, and Filippo Volandri, Lopez went to the main draw and dispatched of Chris Woodruff and Michael Russell before falling at last to Anthony Dupuis 7-6, 7-6. What a great showing! Watch out for him too.

Main Draw

Local favorite Andy Roddicks star continues to rise. Seeded number one due to a tremendous 2001, Andy did not disappoint, rolling over Davydenko, Lee, Llorda, and Dupuis to reach the finals. His emotional maturity is improving and his serve and big forehand are getting better too. As he approached the finals he appeared extremely tired. He admitted that he was fighting a nasty cold (or something) and later would cancel his upcoming tournament appearance – stirring up a minor ATP controversy for not flying to the event to be examined by the tour physician. When I spoke with him briefly after his win over Dupuis, I can attest that he looked ready for a 13-week vacation totally exhausted hacking cough so I kept my distance. What more to say? Tennis and the travel can be brutal on the body?

Number two seed and defending champion Jan Michael Gambill looked very ready to win again. He thrilled the crowd in his first match against serve and volleying Wayne Arthurs. Amazingly, he fought off match point to prevail (as he did last year against Arthurs after being down 3 match points!) 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. It was guts and glory as usual. When I mentioned to his father and coach that many think Jan Michael likes to play from behind, Mr. Gambill replied” “anyone who thinks that does not know his game.” After his second annual Houdini Act, Gambill went on to win over rising American Mardy Fish and Andre Sa from Brazil.

What happened to Stefan Koubek? Two years ago he won the event and my story on him prompted my Smart Tennis Sport Psychology Tour 2000! He’s had a great year so far (see Australian Open), but he ran into the hard hitting American buzz-saw named Michael Russell. Koubek played well but Russell was incredible – pounding low forehands and backhands and matching Koubek shot to shot with powerful blasts from the baseline. In my opinon, Koubek has matured mentally since his breakdown in the finals two years ago, but no luck this time around.

The fifth seed was a friendly and soft-spoken veteran named Davide Sanguinetti from Italy. He made it to the finals of this event about 6 years ago. He began by winning a tough first round match over Christophe Rochus 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 then easily beat Kristian Pless 6-3, 6-2 before defeating Paradorn Srichaphan from Thailand in three sets. This led to the semi-final match against Gambill.

Semi-Final 1

Andy Roddick over Anthony Dupuis 7-6 (4) 6-4

Dupuis, ranked 82 in the world, was only able to break Roddick’s big serve once in the match, in the sixth game of the first set. The second set stayed on serve until the final game when Dupuis double faulted. Overall it was an impressive performance by both the Frenchman and the Boca Raton prodigy. Roddick has so much raw power. With improved strategy and refinement, this guy is unstoppable.

Semi-Final 2

Davide Sanguinetti over Jan Michael Gambill 7-6 (8) 6-3

This was a close match and a funny one too. Sanguinetti’s Lotto shoes fell apart (the rubber broke off the bottom) at 5-4, 15-0 in the first set and he was forced to borrow the the shoes worn by Iggy Jovanovic from the ATP Tour. I’ve never seen anythink like this in a professional tournament. Showing the calm and relaxed style of his boyhood hero Milslov Mechir, along with some pretty nasty low groundstrokes delievered with an old- fashioned eastern grip, Gambill had to work extra hard to avoid mistakes with that two-handed on both sides style. Davide took full advantage. As Gambill later said “I thought his game would break down with the pressure but it didn’t.” Flat and low shots are hard to combat when that is not the norm on the tour. Jimmy Connors retired a long time ago. In a showcase of talent, the relaxed Italian master with the slow and low shots overcame the pressure-loving American blaster.

Final

Davide Sanguinetti over Andy Roddick 6-4 4-6 6-4

You gotta love this match for the welfare of the game. Never count out a clever marksman and assume the young gun will win easily. Give Andy credit for the fight despite his illness. This was a fun match to watch. Roddick later would say “it’s hard to rip the ball against him because he keeps it so low.” He went on “I tried to get in a groove and bully him around, but this took a lot of energy and I could not keep bluffing it.” Sanguinetti wore out the young Roddick with his soft shots, control, and persistant passing shots and angles saying “I knew he was frustrated and I took the pace off the ball to see what would happen.” He attributed his great success not to talent, but to a grueling 6-week workout routine that improved his confidence. By winning, Sanguinetti was the first player on the tour with two championships in 2002.

Summary

If you want a suntan and some great tennis in March, come down and to the International Tennis Championships. Delray Beach is a great little resort town by the sea with cozy restaurants and a European downtown feel. The tennis is up-close and excellent. Keep pushing your mental skills to a higher level and I’ll see you again soon!

This article was on sports psychology.

SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE ADVICE FOR THE NEW YEAR BY DR JOHN F MURRAY

Sports Psychology Column – Jan 1, 2002 – By Dr. John F. Murray – I hope you had a healthy holiday season with friends, family and celebration! Are you excited about the challenges the New Year presents? If you read this column, you’re probably interested in improving your tennis, or perhaps sharpening mental skills in another important area of life. This month, I share some of your inquiries followed by brief performance solutions. Names are changed to preserve privacy, but these issues represent typical questions that are often asked. Keep your questions and comments flowing this year as it benefits everyone and helps determine future columns.

Dear Dr. John:

I have a young world ranked player who wants to find out all he can about putting it all together from the very beginning of the game. He has acquired a bit of a habit of falling behind in his matches and having to fight very hard to overcome a tardy start. I can’t fault his physical warm up, but mentally something is lacking in this area. Overall he is as mentally tough as they come and not prone to being over anxious. What should I do? Taylor

Dear Taylor:

If he is “not prone to being over-anxious” I wonder if his mental intensity is lacking from the outset. Perhaps helping him get into the match sooner with imagery of the final few games of a match will help. I would test the limits too – in other words, really get him pumped before his matches and then have him practice as if whomever wins the first two games will win the match. Good Luck. Get him a copy of Smart Tennis and have him review the Mental Equipment article on Arousal (Link there please)! Good Luck! Dr. John

Dear Dr. John:

This question is about paralysis by analysis. When I play against someone I know is better than me, many times I fall into paralysis by analysis. I start to tell to myself to move well, move the legs, the arms, and so on. It is a terrible sensation. I sometimes think I will not play anymore. Do you have a prescription for me? On the other side, when I play against someone is weaker than me, I’ll go completely on what you call “automatic pilot.” Could you believe that I am so foolish on the court? Thank you in advance. Pete

Dear Pete:

Thanks for writing. You are not foolish, but your description of “paralysis by analysis” is a good way to think of losing focus, or over-thinking. This appears to happen to you when you think the opponent is better than you. I would seriously ask yourself why the skill level of the opponent is changing the way you think about competition. What does it mean to you to possibly lose a match? Why do you play? To improve skills, win, have more fun etc…? Whatever is happening is making you over-conscious. In this instance, you lose the natural flow or the zone. I would encourage you to re-think what playing tennis means to you. If you embrace the challenge and forget about winning and losing, you will be less apt to go into ultra-think mode. You might also like to tell yourself, when you begin to go into this thinking mode, phases like: “just play” “just have fun,” take a deep breath, jog in place, and get your physical self back! You need to think in tennis – but not too much during the point! Better to just play. Go for it! Dr. John

Dear Dr John:

I love tennis but whenever I play a match and I start to miss easy balls I get angry. It feels out of control because I know I shouldn’t be doing it but I still do it. It’s dragged on for years and I don’t know how to control my anger when I get on the court. It’s like I am a different person when I am on the court. Could you please give an exercise to work with which will allow me to think of the match and not how bad that last shot or game was. Lisa

Dear Lisa:

The key is to re-focus quickly following anger, not to eliminate anger. We all get angry and it has its purpose to motivate, but not to destroy, the present and future. You really need a consistent pre-shot routine, disciplined, key words, eye control etc… to give yourself other things to think about. The “zone” is really nothing more than being totally in the moment. You might also do imagery in which you practice getting angry and then releasing anger for the next point, and re-direct the energy into proper focus and awareness on the present. I wish this were easy, but it is not – and there could be deeper issues still … but it is usually just a problem for your game. I’ll talk with you later! Dr. John

Now that you’ve glimpsed some of Taylor, Pete and Lisa’s concerns, what about your own situation? If there is any way I can help, please drop me a line using this form, call me at: 561-596-9898.

From Sports Psychologist Dr John F. Murray

FIGHTING THROUGH FATIGUE – BY DR. JOHN F MURRAY

Sports Psychology Column – Dec 1, 2001 – By Dr. John F. Murray – One of the most difficult states to overcome is fatigue. It has been said that fatigue makes cowards of us all. This is not true for everyone. Following a 33-hour solo flight, Charles Lindberg landed safely in France. Give in to fatigue and you are cooked. Fight through it properly and you gain a huge advantage! Let’s take a closer look.

No matter how fit you are you have undoubtedly experienced the ravages of being exhausted during a match. Fatigue should always be considered from both a psychological and physiological perspective.

Safety First

It’s essential to know your body and physical condition well before undergoing any rigorous activity. Always have a medical exam and ask your physician before attempting to withstand 3 to 5 sets of hard core tennis, especially in heat conditions. Look at the recent number of deaths due to heat stroke. If you experience severe pain, headaches, vomiting, inability to sweat, or other common danger signs, always stop playing immediately.

Assuming that you are able to play tennis and not in significant danger, fatigue usually presents itself in a variety of ways. Physical signs that your body is tiring include greater difficulty breathing, slower movements, aching muscles, reduced vision and slower reaction times to name just a few.

Lost Focus

Perhaps the riskiest thing to your tennis game, and eventual ego, is the focus you often lose when you are tired. The mind has a way of wandering all over the place when the body signals exhaustion. This is partly due to the relationship between arousal and attention (Optimizing Arousal in Tennis) whereby narrow attention allows many distractions to intrude. It is also true that when you become tired, your focus has a tendency to turn inward and dwell on your condition. Again, focus is lost because it could be much better spent attending to more relevant performance cues.

What can be done to battle this robber of attention and energy? If you are seeking a crucial edge for your game, let’s take a look at my ten tips to battle fatigue:

1. First and foremost, make sure that you get plenty of sleep prior to the big match. Nothing prepares your mind and body better to fight fatigue than recharging the batteries the conventional way.

2. Eat small balanced meals throughout the day and never consume a large meal before the match. Eat light a few hours before the match, but make sure to get some good complex carbohydrates in your body the day before the match too. For more details, consult with a nutritionist. Everyone’s body and performance demands are different.

3. Drink plenty of water mixed with Gatorade or fruit juice prior to and throughout the match. Start hydrating at least two hours before the match. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

4. Pace yourself throughout the match. Anticipate your opponent’s style in advance and know what will be needed to win in the final set if necessary. If needed, take a little longer before serving and setting for the return. Control the pace of the match and you save valuable energy for later.

5. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing in the sun. These minor measures mean a lot when battling outdoors. Protecting the head is especially important. White reflects sun.

6. Lose weight. Carrying an extra load around makes everything more difficult. Like a hot air balloon, throwing off some of the excessive baggage helps you soar higher for much longer.

7. Visualize yourself as a powerful force. When you become tired, an energy jolt is often helpful. See yourself as a space shuttle taking off rather than as a donkey bogged down in the sand.

8. In an emergency, end points sooner. If you are hopelessly outclassed by a more consistent player and realize that your energy reserves will not last, find another way to win. Thinking of two and three point combinations to end the rally sooner will sometimes do the trick. Don’t get wild, just bring the point to a close sooner and conserve energy.

9. Never let your opponent know how tired you really are. Psychological warfare often involves deception. Show how tired you are and your opponent gains both a tactical and emotional boost. Disguise your fatigue by turning toward the fence to catch your breath and your energy.

10. Breathe continuously and steadily through the match. Players sometimes hold their breath under stress. Just like a world-champion weight lifter, oxygen is essential. Breath in and out with your strokes. Use deep slow breathing during changeovers.

I hope this article has rejuvenated your energy and given you another weapon to unfurl on the court. Like many other distraction, fatigue should be managed wisely to your advantage.

Keep your comments, suggestions and feedback flowing. This is truly an international tennis forum and I love hearing from you, wherever on the globe you type. I’m in Munich for the next couple weeks and can be contacted using this form.

Article written by Sports Psychologist Dr John F. Murray

THE IMPORTANCE OF BELIEF – BY SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST DR JOHN F MURRAY

Sports Psychology Column – Nov 1, 2001 – Dr. John F. Murray – Talent, desire and mind-body skills all work together to enhance performance. This increases the probability that success will occur, but the opponent has to cooperate before winning actually takes place. Remember — higher performance never guarantees success, but only increases the probability.

In providing sport psychology services to athletes at many levels, I’ve found that one particular mindset is useful in unlocking true potential in a person. It is the attitude of the beginner’s mind, open and trusting, that seems to work well. No matter how accomplished an athlete may be or how much they know, an innocence and almost trust in our plan together is what sets the stage for learning and excellence. Let’s call this attitude belief.

Scientists usually scoff at the notion of belief in their research and knowledge creation. After all, we’ve sent men to the moon and discovered the cures for many diseases not by believing, but by analyzing and thinking in an extremely critical fashion. This healthy doubt is the hallmark of the scientific revolution and serves us well in creating knowledge, but doubt in an athlete’s mind only sidetracks progress and interferes with performance.

The problem with doubt for the athlete is that an awful lot of energy and left-brain thinking is required to analyze critically and consider the many possibilities of action. Doubt creates distractions that disrupt flow and focus and reduce confidence. To perform with grace and efficiency on the tennis court requires an almost single-minded and simple trust in the chosen training method.

In working with an athlete, whether as a coach or sport psychologist, it is essential to establish trust up front and spell out the benefits that occur by letting go of control and believing in the plan. This is not to say that every word out of a good coach or sport psychologists’ mouth is scientifically based. Far from it! A good part of any coaching and counseling is art, based upon intuition, smart risks, trends and hunches.

Still, it is often the athlete’s belief, as well as the precision of their knowledge, that leads them to progress. Much has been written about the placebo effect in medicine. A sugar pill will often cure pain as effectively as an established pain medication. The mechanism here is belief. This placebo effect is equally important in getting an athlete ready for peak performance.

Here are some guidelines in helping promote belief in an athlete. Whether you are an athlete, coach, sport psychologist or highly involved tennis parent, you will find these useful:

1. Whatever you are doing, make sure that your approach is based on sound principles. Although belief is important, belief alone will never suffice. Part of the challenge in establishing trust is showing how what you are doing is credible and state of the art.

2. Paint a total picture for the athlete from the outset. Show the person what it takes to achieve high performance and how goals will be accomplished. Only after showing the overall plan is it time to get specific and address details.

3. Simplify your message. Rather than trying to accomplish too many things at once, focus on one skill at a time until mastery occurs. Confusion rarely enhances belief or performance.

4. Never promise victory, but always promise higher performance. There is no way to absolutely control the outcome of an athletic event. False promises only reduce belief.

With solid knowledge and a total belief in the program and goals chosen, the athlete is more confident, uncluttered by doubts and free to express their own creative genius. Teach belief as much as you teach skills and you’ll unleash a force with few limitations.

Hope you enjoyed a useful and important passage written by Dr John F. Murray