Ok, this week I was battling to concentrate. My strokes were worst than a week before. Fan was hi, till the last practice of the week. I was overwhelmed and frustrated. My goals seemed to be more and more away and reality questioned.
I tried to be serious at first. No jokes no laughing and chatting around. It didn’t work. Just wasn’t me and I seemed to be down. For the very first time I understood what drives someone to smash his racket to the ground as hard as s/he can.
After almost three hours of practice we were almost off time. I was serving and it was bad. I was throwing the ball towards the empty sky and hitting the ball as empty. It was disastrous. I knew I was going home full of sadness.
Then Paris, my couch, tried to keep me afloat and going. “Do some more..” He said, like he was seeing some sign of improvement. I don’t know why but something clicked in me. I tried to concentrate as hard as I could. For some reason I wanted to prove him right. Success. After 5 minutes I was hitting some of my best serves.
I was definitely wasn’t going home with sadness afterall nor happy. But rather puzzled. What happened? How can I do it again and again on purpose? I kept thinking on that over and over again. I now think the answer lies on the concentration… Easy eh? Yeah, you bet; Easier said than done for sure. I tried to understand my mood and attitude during my previous practice sessions and I came up with these profiles:
I’m having fun! Full of energy, humor and lots of laughs and teasing… What a great way to learn something? It’s seems effortless. Although I find out I can’t control the performance side of it…
Practice? A serious task towards my goals… No small talk between coach and others. Only listening and executing the tasks on hand. Ok, if you’re very serious about a task that only requires repetition, that approach might work. Although can be very strenuous at times.
Concentrate, be there… In that case I try to be kind of emotionless. It’s like meditation. No feelings no reactions. React only to the millisecond of presence. If you hit an ace you would look the same to others as when you double fault.
For me the last one works the best I tend to believe. Not as fun as the first one described but at least more performance oriented. For the next week I’ll try to be as fun and light when time allows. Mostly on brakes. Ok, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop teasing my coach as that is part of my personality. But rather, I’ll try to be there and aware when the ball is on play.