Nov. 5, 2020

Total Awareness

Learn how to be aware of everything on the tennis court. Stop trying to block things out because it won't work. Discover how you can keep your focus by accepting what tennis is.

Coach: Chris Haggard, former world no.19 doubles. Won 7 ATP titles.
Bio: Turned pro in 1993. Spent 15 years on the ATP Tour. Excelled at doubles to reach career-high #19 ranking. Stayed in Top 50 for over a decade. Won 7 ATP titles. Reached SF Australian Open and QF of both US Open and Wimbledon. Career wins over Bryan Brothers, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Leander Paes, Pat Rafter, Leyton Hewitt, and Marat Safin.

Birthplace: South Africa
Residency: USA

Length: 2 min 57 sec
Theme: Concentration


So, I want to talk a little bit about awareness.

And, and this comes to, to my experience of playing professional tennis and being on the big stage with, you know, thousands of people watching you. When when I played my, my best, I played better when more people and there was more things going on. And (and) a lot of people asked me is that because you are able to block things out. And it's actually the contrary, I take everything in and great players do. I mean, I can tell you, when I'm out there, and there's all these people, you know, I can hear every little noise, I can hear people whispering, umpire can get a sense of the ball kids the TV, but it's almost it's in a way, it's it's in the background. And it's not in the forefront, because that's the tennis ball, but it's part of the package. And I think, you know, for (for) a person that goes out there, if you can be aware of everything, your whole surroundings, you know, of the tennis court, it sets you up to (to) play a much better game of tennis instead of trying to block things out. 

Because what happens if you block one thing out, something else might come along, and then it irritates you. But if you're just aware of everything, you know, nothing really bothers you. And I think that's what the great players able to do. You know, you see it a lot of times, you know, maybe a you know, ball kid, you know, gets stuck in the net or something, you know, regular person might get irritated or something small might happen. But the great players that it's almost like it's part of the background picture but they're totally aware. 

One other thing I realized that I (that I) have, and a lot of the pro tennis players, they have this ability to (to) recall every moment in a whole match. And I've gone through matches where I could tell you every single point how won and lost that point, the score the break points. And it's (it's) strange that, I don't know, for me, it was just normal. And at that level, how we can remember that, that you go to a lot of recreational players and they can't even remember, you know if they held serve a few times or you know how many breakpoints you know, did you how many did you hit a forehand winner on break? What happens if I try and asked him to recall a match they struggle with it. 

So, the advice I can give you is try and just be aware out there. And it's not (it's not a it's not) a strong focus. It's almost like a subtle focus of just being aware and (and) the focus can come on (on) the actual ball and hitting (hitting) the shot. But the key is being aware at the same time and if you (if you) combine those two things, I think you find where you get into this mental state of really being in the zone, you know, being in that place where it's just it's happening easily and you don't need to think about it too much.