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By Matt Cuccaro, Director of Mental Training at Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy

At Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy on Hilton Head Island, student-athletes (ages 9-19) reach their potential on and off the tennis court by creating a mindset of continuous improvement. Below are details on how this is achieved each day.

The “prepare stage” of the performance cycle is the longest in duration for all athletes. This includes the days, weeks, and months set aside for training between competitions. This is an opportunity for players to develop the technical, tactical, physical, and mental skills required to compete at a high level. The performance cycle typically starts with a high percentage of instruction in order for the athlete to learn new skills and improve technique. As the cycle continues, the athlete engages in quality repetition of movement to create the feel and trust required to compete without excess technical thought as competition nears.

The “compete stage” is the time to execute and showcase the skills developed and improved during the prepare stage. It is not ideal to try something new or uncomfortable in a tournament. Competition is naturally a time of higher stress, so an athlete’s mind and body will automatically revert to doing what it knows best. The compete stage is the opportunity for an athlete to measure their current potential and show how well they can manage the physical, tactical, and mental  aspects of performance in a public forum.

The “evaluate and active rest stage” is often skimmed over or eliminated altogether because it may not show immediate results. However, if the athlete does not have an opportunity to assess themself and take time for other off-course needs, long-term development suffers. Success in life is a continuous process of evaluating, learning, and developing; which takes a significant amount of time and energy. Without proper evaluation and rest, athletes typically lose perspective on their sport and life as a whole, resulting in burnout and shorter, less fulfilling athletic careers.

Once the evaluation is complete, it’s time to create the next training plan to increase overall potential by preparing once again.
About Matt Cuccaro, Ed. M.
Since joining Junior Sports Corporation in 2006, Matt Cuccaro has assisted the development of athletes, coaches, parents and administrators on the mental aspects of high performance. As Director of Mental Training, his passion areas include golf with Hank Haney International Golf Academy and tennis with Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy. Matt’s clients range from the junior level to the highest professional ranks around the world in helping them reach full potential through workshops, individual meetings, speaking engagements and publications. Follow him on Twitter: @MentalCoachMatt.
Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy produces the finest tennis training and competition for juniors to ultimately reach the college or professional ranks. Ivan Lendl, former World No. 1 player and winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles, serves as Director of Instruction and is dedicated to the development of each junior tennis player.
For more information about Ivan Lendl IJTA: www.LendlTennis.com/info, 888.936.5327.

(Photo Credit: Ivan Lendl Tennis Academy)


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