Preparation checklist. This is a quick list you can go through to see if you are ready to play.
1) Am I in the right mood for playing? Answer YES (go to question 2) NO (go to answer a)
a) Picture what it will cost me if I do not turn myself around. Am I happy to lose just because I am in a bad or wrong mood to compete. How will I feel after the loss knowing it happened because I could not be bothered to turn myself around Every match is an opportunity and can open up the tournament.
2) Have I clearly pictured the way I want to look and feel on the court? Looking through my opponent’s eyes, does he/she see the image I want to project? YES (go to question 3) NO (go to a)
a) It is not good enough to say ‘it does not matter', you must see and feel that you have the right image before each match.
3) Do I feel flat? YES (see a) NO (go to question 4)
a) When I am flat I need to be extra aggressive and energised at the start. Also I must see the game as fun, by playing some fun mind games e.g. I am the 'Slam dunk and volley' man, or the 'mess you around on the return' guy, or the 'Groovin movin' man. Picture fun and picture yourself in a 'fun' match.
4) Is this a regular game-plan match, or do I know something about my opponent? YES (see a) NO (see answer b) DON'T KNOW YET (go to question 5)
a) What is it I know about this opponent and what must I adjust to play him/her more effectively.
b) Start with your game-plan and, as long as you keep him/her honest with a few probes, then if anything becomes obvious you can adjust accordingly.
5) Have I left my ego behind? YES (see answer a) NO (see b)
a) I’m at peace with myself, relaxed and energised and a little excited about going out to play. I have that feeling of total trust in myself to go out there and get on with it.
b) Fears and bad pictures are tools of the ego to control me. They have no power unless I give them power by focusing on them. I can change my focus by building the story that I want to see and by not buying into the ego. There is no past or future that are not just my story, which I interpreted from events. I want to play as the true me, which is a great feeling - and I will.
A young boy travelled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist.
When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the sensei.
“What do you wish from me?” the master asked.
“I wish to be your student and become the finest karateka in the land,” the boy replied.
“How long must I study?”
“Ten years at least,” the master answered.
“Ten years is a long time,” said the boy.
“What if I studied twice as hard as all your other students?”
“Twenty years,” replied the master.
“Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?”
“Thirty years,” was the master’s reply.
“How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?” the boy asked.
“The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way.”
Author: David Sammel