When I was a young athlete I would have never considered journaling or writing about how I was feeling or how I played or competed. I actually rarely stretched, ate well, or focused as much as needed in order to extract as much as I could out of myself. Was I dedicated? You bet, I put more into what I did than anyone else, I prided myself on being my fittest version and I would have done more if I had been simply shown.
The reason why the stretching, recovery, healthy eating, etc never happened was that I never had someone teach about those things, I never was exposed to their benefit.
Fast forward 3 decades, the journey I have been on myself has been life-changing. I spend more time working on my body and health than I do on training it. The number of resources and tennis training tools that have developed has opened doors to health and enhanced performance and now the fact that young athletes expect to stretch, recover, warm-up, and know what healthy eating is, is a testament to how far we have come.
Coaches, trainers, and parents have come a long way! This is partly due to people looking for ways to improve their own physical and mental state. People willing to research and create solutions. This mindset is what is pushing the health and sporting world up and up. Bring it on!
In the last few years, I have been practicing various techniques to try and get more out of myself mentally and emotionally. Call it self-exploration. Some of the things I do on a daily basis include;
- Gratitude (Through a structured thought process)
- Prayer (I have been doing this from a young age)
- Mobility/Yoga (Target my tension lines)
- Deep breathing (Various techniques)
- Journaling (started recently)
I call these my morning rituals. Any players that come and do tennis training camps (Live and train with us) experience this with us and feel the benefits after a few days. The first four I do straight away on waking every day. The combination takes me 30min to get through and honestly without doing them I would not be as productive and in the state, I need to be in to live how I want to live. The journaling I do at night.
I believe journaling for players has the capacity to engage self-awareness, break barriers (limiting beliefs), and open the door for deeper learning.
Tennis Training Tool "Tennis Journal"
There are many ways to journal. Due to the fact I am not competing in a sport and also the point I am in at my life, I journal about personal things (my relationships, what I need to do better, my training, my eating, what I want to focus on, how I feel I am going, etc)
Journaling for tennis is different. It is still reflective, just tennis focused. It gives players the ability to vent, describes how something made them feel, what they feel they did well or can do better, how they prepared, recovered, etc. What I like about tennis journaling from a tennis trainers’ perspective, is the fact we can look at specific aspects of a player’s tennis preparation, tennis recovery, intensity, and attitude. From a coach’s perspective, it creates the opportunity to discuss strategy, technical focal points, match behavior, self-talk, etc.
It really is an endless piece of string. What I appreciate the most about tennis journaling is how individual it becomes. Due to the fact it is reflective, it is individual and personal for each player.
Now it all sounds good in theory right! But getting players to the journal may be a different story (for some). What I have found is when you get players started and they see how effective it is, they gain momentum, just like I do from my morning rituals.
So the key is to get an effective system in place.
What I have done is take the hard work out of the equation for you! I sourced what I believe to be the best tennis Journal resource on the market.
“Functional Tennis Match Journal” is a great tool for any player that wants to deepen their understanding of their game and work on specific areas.
What it includes;
- Quotes and Inspirations from professionals
- Personalized quotes from yourself
- Goal setting
- Cue words (recommended and personal)
- Cue word stickers players can place on their rackets, water bottles, etc
- Diary for scheduling
- Match sheet (surface, weather, date, opponent info, goals for the match)
- Post-match (detailed debrief section – The best part of the journal in my opinion)
- Notes section (gives you the opportunity to look at tactical aspects)
What I like most about this journal is how simple it is to use. Players are basically just answering questions as they go. They are guided through the process by filling in the journal. It is a great education process.
We are all about a “Tennis Growth Mindset” we encourage everyone to be the same.
Keep striving to be better, learn, and make an impact.
See you next time
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