Tennis – Insider Nuggets or the continued quest for the Holy Grail?

September 6, 2010 Post Comment Uncategorised

In the course of watching Andy Murray’s demise at the US Open 2010, I heard something mentioned from Peter Fleming on commentary that rather made my jaw hang limp.

He was talking about tennis players at this level just having to “…allow their subconscious to run the show once they are in matches. If they try and think their way through a match then they’re lost…”

Firstly I was delighted to hear a former top flight player acknowledging the role the SUB(or UN)conscious plays in sporting contests. Psychology is a crucial factor in all sport, and there are a number of sports where psychology plays an enormous part in players’ success or otherwise. Also, away from any of the martial arts, in heads-up one-to-ones, tennis is just about the best sport there is for us to see this in action. Even golf, where psychological approaches are well considered, it is still more about the player v the course, than player v player.

Secondly, Peter Fleming and fellow commentator, Mark Petchey, went on to talk about confidence, and “wouldn’t it be great” if players could have this installed for them at an unconscious level.

Now I moved to the edge of my chair, thinking that they were about to reveal some “insider nuggets” about what is one of my stock in trade processes – Sports Hypnosis. Instead, I was almost falling off the chair when I heard this:-
“I know there are people who can do this, but there aren’t that many in the world – and I’ve never heard of it’s use by anyone in tennis.”
Can this be for real? Surely at the top level, there are enough SP’s** working in tennis to be able to extend to their clients an efficacious and beneficial use of changing states, and an ability to utilise hypnotic phenomena within those state changes, to instal and anchor confidence and a whole range of other desirable resources. Surely?

Or perhaps this IS a case where the only thing a pickpocket sees, when in a room full of saints, is their pockets. The familiarity of rocket science to a rocket scientist means that what is a straightforward and everyday process to him, is seen as amazing, bizarre, wonderful, off the wall, complicated and insoluble to everyone else.

I have watched crumbling sportspersons from the absolute beginner to those at the very, very top of their chosen sport – knowing that I (and countless colleagues) would be able to guide and effect in them the changes they most require.

The thing is – (and here there is just a hint of cynicism), we seem to be more accepted by, and accessible to, the beginners and learners!

My perception is that “Insider Nuggets” are UNCONSCIOUS processes, while the “Quest for the Holy Grail” is a distinctly CONSCIOUS process!

** – (SP’s: Sports Psychologists)