I began tennis at 8 years old with my father and my older brother during school holidays. I really enjoyed and i enrolled in the club in my hometown the following September. It was a group lesson from a pro tennis coach.

Three years later i played my first competition in a team. It was awesome to share a moment with my teammates. It was really friendly. After each lesson, Rene-Jacques, asked me to play with him. It turns quickly into a lesson.

The most important thing for me was to be with my teammates and to share the same passion with them.

 

How I lived my first competition

It was with the team of the club. Competition was for me a real opportunity to show to my teammate how important this moment was for me and how i can bring amazing stuff for the team. This challenge was already in my mind. My wish was to gain in self confident in feel worthy. 

 

The fear of making people disappointed

In match i was really conservative. As a result, i play to don’t lose, instead of trying to win. The score was more important than anything else. After making a mistake i remember to punish myself by hurting my leg or my body with my racket. Always spontaneously. I used to speak loudly to me about what i have done bad. It did not serve me but i just felt better afterwards when i release the frustration. In fact i was fighting only with me. 

 

I had to find a way to attack if i wanted to win

Great defenders such as Lucas Vincent was ready to play 4 hours if needed. They were more patient and more concentrated than me. As a result, I lose. If i don’t attack i would lose the match, for sure. 

I remember that sometimes i played to don’t lose instead of trying to win.

Dominating is not winning.

Then i felt, that the result of the match would depends only from me : If my attacks was in, i would win, if not i lose. How many times i kept dominating and at the end i lose.

 

To be pumped up

I noticed that to be at my best, in match, i needed to feel pumped up. If not, i would be too cautious, too conservative. In order to attack i have to set up my mind before, so i can take risks and be more aggressive during the match.

It brought me to a very thin line which i can go to the other side in less than half second. An explosion can appears. In my youth I broke about 6 tennis rackets in my all career. I stopped to break my tennis racket, the day i paid my own. 

Self control – To find the balance

To keep improving i decided to practice with the best defenders of my club in order to work on my self control. I said to me : “If i miss, it doesn’t a matter”. The problem with this attitude is that i stopped to feel pumped up i lost my aggressiveness in my game.

Later, I’ve learnt that is more productive to stick to the game instead of worrying too much with the score. I was more leniently  with me which allows me to stick more often to my natural attack game.

Strange sport

With the experience i know that we should not evaluate the level of the opponent during the warm up. We can pick some technical information, but never underestimate your opponent. If he or she is front you, there is a reason. Even if they play slower than you. I used hate that, those high ball with a little of energy which gives you more time to think !

It’s more technical to re-energize a slow ball rather than to counter attack a fast one. 

I enjoyed to play against attacker player. They helped me to be alert and to be more aggressive in my shots as well. If not, i would not play for the next shot… Moreover we played some amazing points which gives more sense and increases the pleasure.  It was easier.

I speak in a past tense because, now i prefer to play against players who plays slow, since my skills improve.  

To enroll a tournament in France you have to pay about $25. Even though we could afford this, i felt a bit under pressure. Without being conscious of, i imagined, the worst scenario in my head. To “underplay”. So,

 I stopped to watch the draw just before to play, It made me anxious

When i arrive too early it was a problem because i could have the time see the draw. The best strategy that i found is to arrive just on time. Sometimes i arrived late and my brother was angry.

Later, i implemented a warm up for about 10 min before each match. It looked very serious, (or show-off) but it worked.

 

I played my best when no one expected me.

Only with my flip-flop, 2 rackets and a bottle of water… When everything is very simple, when i’m here just for fun, i play my best. It seems i like that my opponent under-estimate me, so i could surprise them. 

 

The dream.

At age 17, after being graduated as a chef, I moved 400 kilometres away from my home town, in Lyon. To become tennis coach.  I picked a club in Villeurbanne, named “ASUL tennis”. Lucky me, I met Caroline Garcia. I was her sparring partner during her individual lessons.

I was really motivated with the fire within me (as always).

 

Technical changes

In France you have to reach a minimum level, like regional level, in order to become tennis coach. I needed one more rank, in order to begin the formation. So i took some individuals lessons with a graduated tennis coach for the first time of my life.

In order to fit with the technical standard, i had to change my forehand grip. This change was tough. I felt starting tennis from scratch. Two months without any control, i stopped playing comp. One day, I called my coach, i was in distress. I Imagined the worst : What happens if it’s not working ? He told me to be patient and to keep going. I felt his careful listening and few weeks later, the change appeared.

I jumped one then two rankings in one year.

I discovered tennis again. Less up and down in the game. More pace, more depth and don’t have to think about my Technic ! Everything was EXTRA. At this moment, i played almost every day.

During the formation, we talk, eat, think and play tennis. It played a very important role for my growth.

The achievement  

At 21 years old, i’m officially tennis coach. I began to work in Montargis (the second club). I felt so rewarded to be involved in people’s life and to share my passion. I did not feel that i work, and got new experiences in return.

Coaching and playing

The first year, I worked about 30 hours per week. I’ve got my drug of tennis, daily. As a consequence i neglected my own practice by reducing and even stopping the training. I did not find a time, to practice or at least keep fit and my performances began to decrease. 

 

To find the solution by analyzing

I started the record my matches and i imagined that i was my student. I would follow the ritual that tennis coaches use to improve, but towards me. It helps, to have a better understanding of my game and to know how i behave on court. How fast i was and how fast was my shots. 

But something was missing

As soon as i went back on court i knew what to do, but i wasn’t 100% involved in the game. Unfortunately i didn’t feel fulfilled during the match. I was slower because i was thinking too much. I could tell you exactly what happened on each point, but i did not know how to fix the problem on time. 

I lost one, then two rankings

Physical skills

My wish to come back on stage as always be within me. I find clever to enroll to the soccer team of the village to keep fit. I was right back. My family wasn’t keen because of my work. I told them that if i would not do anything was more risky.

It boosts my self confident in match because i knew that i could play three or four matches if needed. This change helped me to be more consistent, but not more. In fact, most of the time i lose at the second round of the tournament.

The yoga  

The journey began in October 2014. The city of Melbourne was very sporty so it encouraged me to stay fit. I enrolled to the gym. It wasn’t my stuff to work out. Then i discovered the hot yoga and i became addicted to it. Those abilities helped me to be more aligned me, more conscious of my state of mind and my body. It was pretty useful for tennis.

Concentration and strength

My mind was clear and consistent at the same time. My intention was pretty close to the realization. And i had more strength to balanced for my strokes.  Few weeks later, I won a tournament in Melbourne park. Later i knew that it was a “White”. (The level of the tournament) 

France – Australia

I returned to France for a year, and i as interested with mental skills in tennis. Some tennis coaches invited to me to be part of their group of training. Lucky me, it was aligned with my experience and my beliefs. To combine technical and mental skills.

To describe the method in two words : less is more. Being focused on pertinent skills leads to have an bigger impact in my game and to be flexible despite years of habits. It inspired me and i decided to experience this approach with my students.

The lack of growth was not just because of technical or tactical skills but far more than this.

 

Serious and fun

I noticed that be 100 % involved during the training is a fundamental. We have to learn how to be concentrated first. Then the following parts will come. It’s still a tennis lesson but the priorities have changed.

A new vision 

An unconscious believe hold me back which consists to say that we were both players chasing to play some amazing rallies. I used to believe that it was disrespectful to win 6/0 6/0. Now If I can win 6/0 6/0, I do it. No mercy.

I could not imagine “one way” match, it’s not fun. 

Now, I am more positive and implicated during the training. I know that the training is more important than the match itself. It’s more clear for me about what i can influence to what i cannot.  If the opponent is better than me it’s fine. I don’t get frustrated but i don’t give up as well.

If i don’t have the level, it means that there is a reason, and i’ll figure out later. My goal is to stay in the action in order to find solutions. I manage my energy differently : I’m more positive. 

The method step by step 

The key of success in tennis is to manage your well being first, in order to manage your generals skills during the game. It’s all about your attitude and your method of training.

Throughout pertinent experiences and true beliefs, you will change your mindset, your attitude and so, your actions. It will helps you to have different results and put you in movement.  

Then, the challenge is to keep the best and to use it until it becomes a second nature. You will be the same person, in a different version. 

I want to help you to find your personal goals and to share the tools in order to reach them 

 

My challenge 

 

                                                                               Is to build my own tennis academy by 2025 and to publish one video youtube per week. 

 

To finish

 

This simple shift of perception has completly changed my way to play. I have more pleasure to play and i am more reliable on court.

 

  • Even if you understand the theory, it’s important to play tennis at least one hour per week.
  • It’s only your method of training that allows you to grow, because you are limitless.
  • Having an holistic point of view allows you to raise your consciousness. This consciousness leads to a better level.  

 

Tennis is a wonderfull sport to know more about yourself. Because it’s technical sport which requires spontanity.

Your acheivement won’t comes with the number of repetition, rather it’s about your level of awareness : 

Become conscious of your unconscious behaviour. 

 

                                                                          Einstein said : Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. 

 

Question : What is your main obstacle when you play a tennis match ?

Cheers !

Mathieu

 

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