Dec. 27, 2020

Prepare Like A Pro

Why is the preparation at the pro level so much better? Learn to get the mind and body ready. Visualize to relax and prepare and give yourself the best chance of achieving your potential.

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 56 sec
Theme: Strategy


Talking about getting your mind ready for a match, it takes preparation.

And, one thing I've experienced is at the pro level, the preparation is much more precise, much more detailed than then at the amateur level. And, I've always wondered why that is because, you know, it's, you would think that the pros are better than I need to prepare as much. The pros benefit from it, and they see the benefits from (from) having this mental preparation before a match from the minute they walk out on the court.

I remember, you know, just (just) for me in this example, it would take me a good 45 minutes of preparation before a match. You know, I would (I would) start doing a little hand-eye skills with my (with my) partner, you know, we'll be (we'll be) tossing the ball to each other. We'll do a little bit of volley reflexes. And, then and then I'll put on some music and I'll get my mind ready. And, I would start visualizing, you know, I would visualize walking on the court before I've walked out there. Visualize, you know, what the (what the) winds doing, visualize the umpire, my opponents. And, then I just, I just go have a, you know, hitting nice groundstrokes, I go over my serve and just feeling what it feels like to, to hit a low volley.

And, in a way, it relaxes you, but in another way, it really prepares you, it gets you (it gets) you in the moment. You know, and I think a lot of people can benefit from that I don't (I don't) see it enough at tournaments. I see people just walking on the court and kind of hoping for the best that they're going to be focused or they're going to be able to perform mentally. And (and) I think it's important to know that there's two parts to tennis, there's the physical side, which is (which is) the hitting part, but then the mental game is a total different game. And, you got to warm up for that you got to prepare the brain ready to battle out there.

So (So) my advice is to really get a routine of first of all stimulating the mind you know, by (by) doing a couple of exercises where you got to focus a little bit and then the calming side and you know, with listening to music, or even just go to a quiet space and (and) visualize you know, visualize yourself how you want to play because it's very powerful. And (and) I just remember it served me certainly really well over the years, you know, I'd have really big matches and I'd walk out then I just felt so ready and so focused that I knew I was going to perform well. I didn't know I was going to win but I knew mentally I was in the right place.

The better the more you do it, you actually become much better (to) and I think that's, (that's) what's great about having the mental side as a weapon. You know, because (because) I knew sometimes I wasn't hitting the ball as my opponents but I knew if I was a little more focused, I had a good chance of winning.