From 1908 to 2003, the British Cycling Team has won an astounding....1 gold medal. That's right, they were on the bottom of the totem pole for decades as they were consistently considered one of the inferior teams in the Olympics. Then came Dave Brailsford, the new performance coach hired in 2003. Fast forward 5 years and they won 60% of the available gold medals in their events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics! They even had their first British Tour de France winner! So what happened?
The Power of the 1%
Brailsford instilled a culture in the team that focused on how focusing on the little improvements can make a huge difference. He started asking his team what it would take to get 1% better in all the areas that involved their performance. He reasoned that if he could get 1% better in a lot of areas, it would create huge results. From the structure of the bike to sleep and diet, Brailsford examined how his team could get 1% better in each area. For example, for this team to improve sleep by 1%, he would have them bring their own pillow to the flights and hotels to improve the chances a good nights sleep! The results speak for themselves.
So What Can You Do?
I have my players list all the things that make a good tennis player. They go into the obvious in how they practice and play their matches but they also go into some other categories that they were even surprised in, including relationships, academics and work. We found that there are three main categories for this: mind, body and soul. All three need to be taken care of and if they can do this 1% better, they are looking at having a much better chance of exceeding their expectations for the season.
So what are areas of improvement to improve these three categories? Remember, there only needs to be a 1% improvement from before, making this a doable project for anyone. Write down at least 3 things you can improve upon in your mind, body and soul. Maybe 1 minute of mediation before you turn on your phone for the day. It could be as easy as committing to performing 10 push ups before work or turning the electronics off a half hour before bed. Whatever they are, it will add up to be the difference maker in your upcoming matches!
Want a quick and effective tip on creating a smooth groundstroke? Check this video out: