November 30, 2016
WYC 099 – International Tennis Coach – Adam Blicher talks Goal-setting & Mental Toughness
Adam Blicher is an International Award Winning Tennis Coach specialized in Applied Sport Psychology with a Ma. in Sport Psychology from the University of Southern Denmark. During the last 5 years he has travelled to 20+ countries for tennis tournaments ranging from Tennis Europe & ITF Tournaments to Nordic- & European individual & team championships.
Adam uses the demands & stress of Competitive Tennis to help players become strong, resilient people that are able to problem solve in high pressure situations while showing great character. He cares about the results of the players that he works with, but he by any means cares more about who the players are becoming as a persons, as a result of their Tennis journey. Everyday, every competition represents another opportunity for players to grow as a person. Growth in self-control, respect for others, persistence & trustworthiness. No matter how far a player ends up going in the rankings, tennis can be used to strengthen ones character & it is his quest to show the players he works with how & support them in the process.
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‘Begin with the end in mind’ – Stephen Covey
My Cringe & A-Ha Moments
- I talked too much and made players who were dependent instead of teaching them problem-solving and letting them start figuring things out themselves.
Why what I’m doing is different, maybe even controversial
The old well meaning advice from Coaches & Parents saying to players: think positive, play freely, don’t be nervous & just go out there & have fun are all the direct opposite of how I approach the mental aspect of tennis. The natural state of man is not to be worry-less. The key is not to suppress the stress or worry, but rather to acknowledge it and work on enjoying the process of problem-solving and overcoming obstacles.
The 4 Pillars
Adam: ‘You should spend equal time developing each area. You usually are more naturally gifted in 1 or 2 of the areas, but you have to practice all four. Coaches, Parents & Players often say that the mental part of tennis is the most important Performance Parameter of the four main pillars. Some even stretch it & say that the Mental Aspect of tennis accounts for 80 percent of performance within Tennis. I think that is absolutely baloney. You can be the mentally toughest player but if you keep shanking your forehand it really doesn’t matter. The reason why I do believe that we tend to think that the Mental Aspect is the most important is because we usually use a lot less time practicing it than the other three performance parameters. It is my quest to demystify the most common myths that are limiting Tennis Players & to provide Coaches, Parents & Players with an easy to follow & understand way of starting to practice their mental strength.’
- Adam starts with having players answer where they want to be in 5 to 10 years in the sport. He then has them picture the party celebrating reaching this goal. He walks through having them picture what will be said by their parents at a toast at the party. Then picture what others will say – their friends, their officials, their teammates. Did they treat others well? Did they grind through tough times? If they had to travel a lot, did they call back home? Then he has them write the speech down, and they have the ability to change anything they don’t like about what is said about them. Adam then uses this written speech as their coach to hold them accountable to reach their goals. This way it’s not Adam instilling his values, but rather holding them to their own standards.
The mental aspect of tennis:
– Tennis is NOT 80 % mental
How Wawrinka had a panic attack & won the US Open
- Wawrinka threw up before his match and did not want to play. But what is important is not how you feel but rather what you do.
Rafael Nadal struggles with self-confidence – so will you!
- The act of self-confidence comes before the feeling. You have to act the part. Adam often creates alter-egos – i.e. Christopher Confident. Then Adam will ask his players – OK, what will Christopher Confident do when in this situation?
The One that got away
- Adam stated that his pre-match talks used to be too long and give too many instructions. Now he will give 1 or maybe 2 cues at most before a match. And now he asks them after the match to evaluate themselves from 1 to 10 on how they thought they did, and then what would it take to be 1 higher in the next match.
Best borrowed/stolen idea
- Adam worked with a coach who had an incredible eye for detail on what players need to do to improve.
Favorite coaching book/quote
- Book: The Seven Habit of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Book: 7 Keys of Being a Great Coach by Allistair Mccaw
The Traveling Tennis Coach Podcast
- Talks to experts within the world of tennis with a track record of producing high-performing players
- Adam is releasing a calendar in December that has a plan to help work on mental toughness – check it out at adamblicher.com coming December 1st
- Start writing down your thoughts and experiences on paper
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