Advantage Lendl (27 January 2012)

Unlike most of the UK media, I don't think Andy Murray will ever win a "major" tennis title - one of Wimbledon, the US, French and Australian Opens. He lacks calmness under pressure, and a certain grace; he lets his feelings show too much to his opponents (yes, I don't like him much - I prefer Rafa!). I've just seen Murray lose in the semi-final of the Australian Open to Novak Djokovich - again....

I have to admit it was close this time, though, and Murray did show improvement in on-court attitude and approach. Which got me thinking: is this down to the influence of his new coach, the famously steely ex-champion Ivan Lendl? Lendl certainly didn't show much emotion on court, and maybe Murray is picking that up.

But how about a different approach altogether? Tim Gallwey, in his book The Inner Game of Tennis, found that skiing coaches can prove more effective than tennis coaches in coaching tennis players - because they know little about being brilliant at tennis! Instead of acting as a "mentor" (and, with ex-champions, they can make would-be champions feel inadequate), the non-expert coaches relied on asking penetrating and insightful questions to raise a players awareness of his or her own game - unlocking the player's potential to unlock their own performance. The coach does't need to be an expert in the focus area of the coaching.

Just like life coaching, see!? So when Murray moves on to his next coach, maybe he should look beyond ex-tennis champs if he really wants to go to the next level. As long as he doesn't go back to his mum....

all the best


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