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How To Maximize Performance With Less Effort!
by Edward O'Keefe

"I need to try harder!"

"I need more repetitions!"

"I need to spend more time on the court returning serves, working on my shots!"

This is what I hear from most tennis players trying to improve their performance. It's not a bad theory if you aren't putting in the time in the gym lifting weights, on the court getting your repetitions, or working on technique, but if you are, spending more time may actually hurt your game big time.

When you are relaxed and feeling good about your game and your ability, you perform better. In other words, when your emotion is one of confidence and certainty about your ability, the end result will be better. If you are over stressed, over anxious, angry, or too nervous, your end result will be much worse, and during these times, trying harder just makes you get more stressed, more anxious, and more frustrated. Which then tenses up your muscles, makes you think too much, has you focus on what you are doing wrong, which just makes you do worse, and then the whole cycle starts again. This is how a person can start off doing really good, have one bad shot and then start focusing on what they did wrong, and "try" to make it better by trying harder, rather than just letting things flow.

Here are 3 Master Keys to enter the Zone and create the Peak Performance more consistently:

They are:

  1. Your Physiology: your physiology is how you use your body. How you breathe. How you move. Whether you are moving fast or slow... Where your shoulders are at -- are they shrugged or are they back? Where your head is at -- is it up or down? Your physiology is the fastest way to change your emotions and the structure of you focus! In other words, remember how you move when you are having an outstanding day, and walk, breathe, and move the same way you did then. Your brain will fire off the same messages you had the day when you were unstoppable. Also, you can walk around like one of the pros who is confident, and notice what it is like to move like him or her for the day. Remember, confidence is a skill that you work on, not a trait that you either have or don't have.

  2. The second way to master your focus is through your language, otherwise known as your self talk. What you say to yourself and how you say it will determine how you feel and where your brain focuses. Use phrases like:

      I can do this (fill in the blank).
      I will anticipate my opponent's shots today.
      I am returning & serving with power today.
      I get better as I go, and I adjust and learn from all of my mistakes quickly.

    Point #2 about your language: never, ever tell your mind what it is that you "don't" want to happen. For example, if you say, "I don't want to serve it out," "I don't want to shank this," or "I don't want to have a poor match today" then your brain goes right to that thought, and that is what you just programmed your mind to do.

    Instead of using "don't," replace it with what you'd like to happen. Try saying things to yourself like "I will hit it aggressively down the line," "I am seeing the ball with ease today," "I am serving it with power," or "I will have my best match today!"

  3. The third way to master your focus is through the process of visualization. Now, this is where I begin to teach you "How to Maximize your Performance with less Effort!" This is probably the most effective way to pre-program your mind and body before competition so that you respond without thinking and you compete naturally. Key points: Visualize yourself performing perfectly, right before you go to bed at night. Whatever you think about before you go to sleep runs through your unconscious 16 times. (Now that's practice!) Also, go through any skill that you are performing poorly and see yourself perform that skill perfectly over and over again. Last secret for now! Imagine that you were looking through your opponents eyes and playing you. What strategy would you use? This will give you information that you may not of had before!

By simply learning these 3 skills, you can easily change how you perform. Go ahead and try it for a day. You may not be perfect right away, but that's okay. Good Luck and remember that those who focus like a champion feel like a champion!


Ed O'Keefe is known as the "Pro's Pro." He consults with the highest level athletes and coaches on teaching athletes how to focus, concentrate, and enter the Zone through mental training and conditioning. Ed has created a one-tape program called "Focus Like A Champion" and a 4 tape program called the "Ultimate Mental Training Program For Athlete: Secrets For Speed Mental Toughness." Ed speaks to corporations, athletic departments, and works with individuals one on one. To get a free Peak Performance Newsletter and Special Reports, and have a chance to win his program "Focus Like A Champion, call (708) 424-5074.

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