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Visualize Your Way To Become A Better Athlete And Tennis Player

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.”, a very famous quote by the great Muhammad Ali, and time to time we hear from many famous people that they bought their desires into reality by manifesting it through their visions and affirmations. So, what is manifestation? It is putting something into our physical reality through our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. To conceive something in our mind we need to see it with clarity too through the eyes of our mind, and this process of generating mental imagery is called creative visualization. It is a way to stimulate or recreate a visual perception.
Visualization or mental rehearsal in sports is a great tool shared not only by great athletes or high performing people but most of us in our lives, be it personal or professional. Our brain is the master of our body but still most of the time we work hard neck down and forget that it all starts from our brain and the mind residing in it. What is the mind? It is the manifestation of thoughts, perception, emotion, determination, memory, and imagination that takes place within the brain.

I see this tool as a powerful way to increase my mental strength and push me toward achieving something. It drives my motivation and helps build self-confidence and determination in me.
So, is it all? We just need to create a mental image. NO!
A very important aspect of using creative visualization for manifesting our desired results is the feelings and beliefs associated with it. So, it is very important to see, feel, and believe. It is like drawing your favourite piece of art on a blank paper.

My way to Visualization

My way is quite simple, firstly I create the ambience of the room with the fragrance of essential oil to relax and support a clear vision of what I want to manifest. Let’s say, I want to win a match against the best player in the club. Now, I sit on a chair or the ground with a straight spine and eyes closed. I begin with deep breathing to calm my thoughts and focus to visualize and feel everything, even the little details from start to finish including the weather, colours, lines, my excitement and nervousness, everything that happens on a match day. I see myself entering the club and going through a ritual of warm-up before entering the court, then starting on-court warmup and finally playing the match. I envision myself hitting the ball with good positions, stances, racquet preparation and execution on the shots; moving around the court; following the ball trajectory and the location of my shots landing on the other side. While I am playing this match in my mind, I create the strategies to win points and recreate the situations which were hard to win – i.e. my opponent playing his best. It allows me to experience point play under pressure and replay the points from the past, the only difference in this mental rehearsal is I see myself winning those points and eventually the match at the end. I also feel the joy of winning the match and at last, once I am finished, I slowly open my eyes.

You can use this tool on daily basis for practice sessions where you are specifically working on a technique or tactic, or for anything else that you want in your life.

Affirmations to support your visualization – Visualization is also incomplete without mentioning positive affirmations because an element of how this tool works is the essence of the things taking place now and here. Using affirmations (short, powerful statements used in a positive way to consciously influence your thoughts) will enhance your visualization. It may feel senseless to do affirmations out loud if you are not feeling it, but what we speak we make it real. Just like when you visualize you create energy through a mental image with all its sensations, emotions, and feelings, you can also create higher vibes with the words you speak out loud. For affirmations be mindful of using positive words.

Expectations – Lastly, have expectations. After all, there is no point in visualizing and not expecting the results. But don’t expect results to show up with you not putting any action. It will also depend on your perseverance to change your actions to support new habits to achieve your manifestation as it will require a new habit of thought, belief, and action. It is like updating your phones and computers to a new operating system where hardware doesn’t change but the software is all-new for better device performance. Time to time your trust and faith will be tested but if you keep a check on your actions and habits to align with your manifestation, it will ultimately happen. Remember, our actions become our habits and those habits become who we are.

To summarize, achieving something through the practice of visualization you need the following steps:

  1. Write precisely about what you want.
  2. Describe your vision in detail.
  3. Start to visualize, create emotions and feelings associated and do affirmations to boost your vision.
  4. Take daily actions to bring your vision to the physical world.
  5. Have courage and persist to achieve it.

Now go on, to practice this tool and play your best game with your toughest opponent in your mind and bring out the best of you.

Written By – Sonaal Asthana, Junior Development Coach @ Future Demand Tennis

The Journey of an Australian Open Ballkid

Ballkids is one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. You are quite literally up and close with all the players and amongst the action of the Australian Open like no other person. Even though I only made it in on my last eligible year, it was one of the best summer experiences I’ve ever had. This is a little bit of the process you go through:

At the Australian Open in Melbourne, the ages to be a ballkid is between 12-15 years of age. This means that kids who are 11 can try out the year before the tournament starts, as long as they turn 12 before January 1.

The first trial is usually around February – March and is done at a local tennis club/facility that you select when registering. During this trial, supervisors are looking at your ability to roll the ball, catch and throw the ball. If you are successful through the first round you will complete your second trial at Melbourne Park. If you move through trial 2 you will be invited into the ‘training squad’. This means that from around August – November you will complete four training sessions. In the training sessions, you complete drills to help with your rolling, throwing, catching, and general match flow on the court. After the four training sessions, you will find out if you have made it into the official squad and if successful YAY. You do one more training session and then begin real matches including December showdowns/playoffs through to the actual tournament.

During the tournaments, you will ballkid for 45 mins or an hour depending on how hot it is, and then be off for 45 mins/hour. Shifts will either be in the morning, arvo into the evening and or night. There are two positions as ballkid, the 2 net ballkids, and the 4 base ballkids. As a net ballkid, you are responsible for collecting any balls that hit the net or land in that general area and distributing them to base ballkids where required. Net ballkids also help with player service (such as giving them a cold towel) and a few other roles. Base ballkids are located at the back of the court in each corner, and are responsible for collect balls in their area, serving balls and towels to players. For the court to run smoothly all the ballkids must communicate with each other and work as a team. Ballkids are usually placed as a net or base ballkid depending on their height (taller kids are usually base ballkids, and shorter kids are usually at the net), however, it can always change, and it is important to be able to perform both roles if need be.

There are many benefits of being a ballkid besides being close up to the action. For kids, this is a great introduction to “working” in a professional environment, where kids can learn responsibility. It is also a great social environment where kids can meet many people and make friends. Ballkids is an awesome opportunity for kids to get involved in not only the Australian Open but many other tennis tournaments, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

(Attached below is some further information about ballkids).
https://worldtennischallenge.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Woolworths-Ballkids-Program-at-the-WTC-2017-Training-guide.pdf

A Coaches Perspective – What Does Tennis Mean to Me?

Hi there!
Coach Cal here,
So as you’re well aware, Future Demand Tennis has opened up a blog series and I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at tennis from a more mental perspective. To look at life on court through rose-tinted glasses if you will. Look at its emotional connection and things that have applied to life and tennis to not only make me a better player
but a better person.

I hope you’ll indulge me, and hopefully, whatever your age, whatever your standard and whatever your reason may be for playing this beautiful game, you can gain something from what I’ve experienced.

So for Numero Uno, I’m going for the question we all start with:
‘Why tennis? What makes tennis worth it?’

Well… I’m glad you asked…
(You most certainly didn’t ask but it’s my blog contribution so work with me here!)

Tennis is the chameleon of the sporting world. She’s the same game, but she blends into whatever environment you put her in.

(Also to address the actual question in your head, ‘why’s tennis a she?’… I was taught at a young age that all the most beautiful things in life were a woman. Who said chivalry is dead? However, I digress…)

Tennis is slightly different to your average chameleon however, she transforms those who enter her environment.
You could enter on the court a child picking up a racket for the first time, a seasoned veteran fresh off their 20th ITF title victory or some random who saw some person in a headband ‘grunt funny’ on tv and decided to give it a try to see if it was really necessary.

You walk on the court, you are now a tennis player.
Congratulations.
No exceptions.

It can be a relaxing hit, a lesson, a match. She comes in many different colours.
Clay courts, grass courts, hard courts,
The concrete ya uncle had leftover on a job for some couple in Toorak that they clearly over-budgeted for.
Slap some lines and a net on that bad boy and you have a court.

World-class courts aren’t the only thing that can be supplemented though. Rackets aren’t always necessary either, ask the rather convenient ‘2 by 4’ I used every time my parents took my rackets for ‘not doing my homework.’

(In hindsight, was probably why I had great hand-eye coordination at such a young age… and also why that homework still remains unfinished)

Don’t even need friends. Just a wall and a ball and ya trusty plank of wood. This was especially convenient for me… little Cal had a hard time making friends.

But it didn’t matter.
I had already met the love of my life.
And she was the sweetest.
(Ohhhhh yeahhhh, I’m about to get really dramatic on ALLLLL OF Y’ALLLLLL)

Tennis, like most sports, became a retreat for me. It became my armour against the world, where the bad things would ricochet off of me. She was my protection from all the bad things around me.
Bad day?
Something as simple as a ball and a racket and my imagination could fix it.
Being bullied?
Who needs their understanding when I understood something as perfectly as I understood tennis.
Can’t seem to do anything right?
Who cares! I couldn’t do anything wrong on the court.

My front yard garage became Rod Laver arena and I became the greatest Australian player since the stadium’s namesake every time I asked my dad to move the car out the way, provided he wasn’t sound asleep, in which case we called rain delays and hoped that weather would pass (I.e. my dad would get off the couch).

Back then I was going for the all-time male record of 15 grand slams (jeez how that’s changed) and I was allllllways fighting back from 2 sets to love down in the final, carrying an injury because apparently I had to also be the biggest badass in history while I did it.

Tennis never judged, she never laughed at me and my imagination. She egged me on! She added to it with every off bounce, with every solid contact with every stroke of my racket I painted the picture of happiness, me, dripping in sweat, a smile as wide as the great Australian bite and a mother at the doorway calling me to dinner for what she always claimed to be ‘the hundredth time boy!’

Tennis was everything to me.
I loved her and she loved me.
And I didn’t need anything else.

Now I’m aware of everything that’s happening in the world, and at this time, tennis is so close and yet so far.

But you have a wall, you have a court. You have a game that will open it’s armed to you and embrace you as an equal.

So, dear reader, my fellow tennis player.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time with a racket or whether you have hand-shaped grooves moulded into the damn things grip.
You can still have her around.
You may not have the same experience with the beautiful game (no not football) that I do. But you have a golden opportunity to get acquainted again and again and again.
All it takes is a ball and a little imagination.

Times may be tough, but trust me, tennis will be there for you, just like she was for me.
She can be your friend, your ally, your safe harbour. And god do I love her for it.

So does that explain it?
So if you’ll explain it, it’s 9 o’clock and I’ve got a night session match… I had to keep Fed waiting…

Thank you for reading,
I hope to talk again soon.

Cal