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Monday, July 06, 2009

Roger Federer Wins Wimbledon Final agianst Andy Roddick.

Roger Federer beats Andy Roddick to wins his carer 15th Grand slam title and became the only person to do so. He won the match 5-7,7-6,7-6,3-6,16-14 (yeah right 16-14) to win his 15th grand slam beating Andy Roddick in a hard fough match that saw no favorites in front of greats like Borg & Pete samprass. Federer also reclaimed the world number 1 ranking after wining his 15th title.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Stop Thinking About Winning

By John F. Murray, Ph.D

James BlakeWouldn't it be grand if there were a special world where every player won every match? In this tennis fantasyland, scores would be meaningless since every player would be crowned champion. If this is what you seek, hit the snooze button one more time. When you wake up and smell the Starbucks again, you'll remember that every player eventually loses except the tournament winner. In fact, without the risk of losing, your dream would be so boring it would keep you asleep! The challenge and uncertainty in tennis provides much of the thrill and an obsession with winning only hastens defeat.

Too much emphasis is wrongly placed on winning. This does not mean not wanting to win far from it. That is why we play sports. But remember that there is also an opponent and that the most control we really ever have in a match over outcome is 50%. 50% is just as good as zero since there is never more than half control.

When NY Yankees owner George Steinbrenner gave Joe Torre the ultimatum, “win against Cleveland or you are out,” media scurried to cover the “bad boss” element. I made the point that saying “win or you are fired” is the same as saying “flap your arms and fly or you are fired!” Nobody can control winning, but everybody can control performance, and that is where the focus needs to remain.

Task-involved athletes focus on performance and display high intrinsic motivation, produce maximal effort, and persist longer across a variety of situations. Players emphasizing performance goals (e.g., higher percentage of first serves) over outcome goals (e. g., winning) retain more attention for the immediate task at hand. Getting wrapped up in thoughts about outcome only leads to distraction, anxiety, and pressure.

What you really want is to be sincerely fascinated with the many dimensions of performance. Staying excited about performance keeps you firmly in the present and guards against the loss of self-confidence that could occur when the next Rafael Nadal or Justine Henin rolls into your upcoming tournament.

Take a few seconds to recall the best performance of your life. You may not remember the details well because you were so completely absorbed in the moment. Expending energy dwelling on past mistakes or possible outcomes would have only spoiled this peak experience. Your focus on performance that day was admirable and winning took care of itself. This is where you want to be every match.

One way to remain focused on performance is to set short-term goals. These should include daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Start by investing in a small notebook or computer blog site which should be used to keep track of goals, achievements and comments. A rule of thumb is to set goals that you can achieve about 55% of the time. If you are reaching your goals more than 65% of the time set greater challenges. If you achieve your goals less than 45% of the time set them easier.

Make sure that your performance goals are specific, challenging, and realistic. Here are some examples of viable performance goals in tennis:

1. Increase your net approaches by 10 each set.
2. Increase your first service percentage from 55% to 70%.
3. Replace every on-court negative self-statement with a positive comment.
4. Lob the ball at least 50% of the time when in serious trouble.
5. Reduce your unforced errors by 5 per set.

Remember to set mental as well as physical performance goals. Self-knowledge is the key to setting intelligent goals. As you notice improvements in performance, don't be surprised if your opponents begin losing a little more often.

So stop flapping your arms to fly. Your best chance of flying is to focus first on performing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rafael Nadal's Backhand

By Paul Annacone
Photograph by Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal

1. Core
Nadal’s bulging biceps and calf muscles get the most attention, but it’s his midsection that makes all his strokes, and especially this stretched-out, open-stance backhand on clay, so phenomenal. Any other player attempting to hit a ball this far from his body, with such a wide stance, would lunge forward and lose most of his power. Nadal has excellent posture, balance and overall body control. Few players have enough strength in their abs to hit such an offensive shot from such a defensive position.

2. Shoulders
Even though he’s facing the net and stretched to his limit, Nadal turns his shoulders and uncoils into the shot. This is a key point for club players: The open-stance backhand isn’t a license to do away with a standard shoulder turn. Without it, you can’t hit an effective shot.

3. Hands
Though he plays left-handed, Nadal is naturally a righty, so it’s no surprise that his right hand does much of the work on this shot. When you try your next two-hander, pay attention to your off hand. It can give you more control and power to drive the ball. Don’t let it just go along for the ride.

4. Feet
Nadal slides into this stroke and stops at the perfect time. Many club players either can’t slide on clay, or, if they can, they slide too far; Nadal has perfected the art. He comes to a stop, transfers his weight into the shot, and then his trailing leg slides along to the ready position without sending him any farther from the center of the court. He might look rugged and violent out there, but, as this image shows, Nadal moves economically and precisely. On clay, no one does it better.

5. Thighs
Do you cringe when your pro tells you to get down lower for your shots? Nadal shows how it’s done. He has enough flex in his knees to sit in a chair. His center of gravity is low and he pushes through the shot from the ground up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Target your Heart Rate.

By Sarah Unke

To get the most out of a cardio workout, you need to get your heart rate into your target heart rate zone. However you keep your heart rate elevated—by running, doing intervals on an elliptical machine, on taking a spinning class—the American Heart Association recommends that you do “moderately intense aerobic exercise” for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Venus Williams
Rebecca Naden-pa/AP Photo
Venus Williams gets her share of target heart-rate training on court.
So how do you know if your workout is moderately intense? Calculate your target heart rate zone and work to stay in the middle of that zone while you’re doing your cardio.

Here’s how you do it: According to the American Heart Association, a person’s target heart rate is 60–80 percent of his or her maximum heart rate. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. So, take a 35-year-old, for example. His or her maximum heart rate is 220 minus 35, so 185 beats per minute (bpm). That’s the maximum rate he should reach while exerting himself. The target heart rate zone, or where he should try to keep his heart rate for the most safe and effective cardio workout, is 60–85 percent of the maximum, so 111–157 bpm.

A heart rate monitor is the most convenient way to keep track of where your heart rate is during a workout. But you can also do it the old-fashioned way by checking your pulse. Just count how many times your heart beats in 10 seconds at your wrist or neck and multiply that number by 6 to get your beats per minute. That way you can tell whether you need to pick up your intensity, dial it back, or stay right where you are.