Read our other experiences below:
Mind & Body
Mr. Alberto Castellani, ATP Coach and GPTCA, President is the latest member of the international tennis fraternity I’ve had the pleasure of learning from.
Our time started off with two theory filled days where he certified me, and a few others, to become the first ISMCA certified Mental Coaches in India. The rest of the week was on court as his assistant to train juniors with high level concepts and drills.
The first thing you notice about him was the energy! At his ripe young age of 70, he constantly kept moving from court to court and interacted throughout with all the players. Never a shred of negativity or an instance of impatience. He is after all, one of the THE authorities on Mental Training, so it was a reflection of what he’s one of the best at.
Watching him interact and change the perception of the game, depending on the player, provided new insight on the very simple act of communication.
The Mind & Body work best when communicated to properly. As coaches, we got to see what that actually means. The way coaches conduct themselves, and provide relative feedback to the players, makes the difference between a good training session and an hour spent swinging a racquet.
Understanding The Player
His experience of having trained many Top 100 players over the years has no doubt given him a certain belief in his system. One that he notes needs time to create, while being given the correct mental fodder to nurture.
Having myself been witness to many methods over the years where a coach would repeat a word, a phrase, a sentence without getting any clear results. This was not the case here. Even though English is not his native language, the instructions given made sense to the player.
It was not the usual jargon of, ‘Hit Harder’, ‘Why are you not moving!?’, ‘Be ready’ etc…but more precise communication that relate to the player’s aptitude of understanding and their present level. These methods were taught to us in the mental training course as well.
The Process Doesn’t Stop
Let’s say you spend your young life training, achieved a certain target and can’t figure out how to take the next step from the level you are. Maybe it’s time to take in a different perspective? The concepts he’s imbibed in his methodology are self progressing and take on a life of their own.
Does mental training mean we sit in a chair and talk to each other? Hardly. It’s an ongoing process that is done over and over again, on and off the court till you’ve found yourself at a measurable level of achievement.
Process that includes many levels of mental training in drill situations, game play areas, bio-mechanics and more which take time to understand and have effect. Mostly because the player may not have been exposed to how to actually use their mind on the court. Simple on paper, not so much on court.
Which is why it’s important that Mental Training be a part of each tennis player’s training regimen from their junior years. His stress on this point is imperative, and if our sports person’s want to be anywhere near the Top 100 they need to start taking this seriously today.
I wish there were more days that I could spend with him, but time is always of the essence in these situations. Knowledge shared in the week by his side can easily last me a lifetime, as the art of self progressing one’s learning cycle becomes easier to implement thanks to the methods he taught us.
At the end of the day, all of us are here to learn and be better. His final takeaway for me were the below conjugated thoughts:
The coach is like an artist. Coaches have to manage a relationship to develop the person first, then the athlete. This is the art to greater performance.Alberto Castellani