Brain Training

Brain Training

"Coach Winterton, Do you work with mental skills as well as the mechanics of footwork and strokes?"

Answer-I did not realize i did but from day one I employed a method of teaching that carried over from my classroom days. I received high ratings from kids and parents in my classes and the main reason was I cared about the kids and their growth as human beings as much or more than I cared about teaching English skills.

Back to racquetball-a former pro retired and called to thank me for all i did for her in racquetball. So I ask what was the main thing you learned? I am thinking it is going to be drive serve, backhand, or some skill because those are my specialties-but nope!

She said, "You taught me how to win and how to think like a winner."

I was taken back by that but I began thinking about it more and realized I do put a ton of mental tips in between the skills.

Here is one example. A student flies in to workout with me yesterday and he hits a perfect drive serve. He then hits five more before he misses one. He has a "hissy-fit" over the one missed serve.

I stop him and point out he is actually focusing on the 1 failure and not the six perfect ones. Lesson? Focus on your successful shots, not your unsuccessful ones. Think, "That's a great serve, let's hit another!"

Here's another. Athlete has a 9-6 lead in the breaker and proceeds to lose 11-9. Opponent hits amazing shots and almost perfect serves to win. Opponent then wins the tournament in the next two rounds. To me, we won 98% of the match and are right there; very close to winning tournaments. You cannot control other athlete's shots, only your own. Mental strength means focusing on what you can do and playing to win.

Don't dwell upon the mistakes, because more mistakes will happen. If you dwell upon the success....well you get the picture by now!