Breakdowns Before Breakthroughs By R Davis
The excerpt below is taken from the article written by Level A* GPTCA Robert Davis which appeared in Elite Tennis Journal (September 2014).
Andre Agassi survived. So did Novak and Serena. And it brought Andy Murray to tears on center court at Wimbledon It is considered one of tennis’ greatest challenges. The phenomenon called breakdowns before breakthroughs.
The dictionary defines phenomenon as: ‘something (such as an interesting fact or event) that can be observed and studied and that typically is unusual or difficult to understand or explain fully’. And that is a good way to describe this difficult period in a player’s career. When choking and shock losses take a man to the brink and beyond and dampen even the brightest of dreams.
While Andre Agassi had to go all the way back to the ATP Challenger circuit to find his game before he could return to grand slam greatness, others players may have had less dramatic solutions. But make no mistake, there is no escaping professional tennis’ ultimate test for greatness.
For a player stuck in the breakdown stage it often seems like a minefield full of traps and setbacks. Many a player has disappeared never to be seen again because they could not handle the disappointment.
For more than 35 years, coach Chuck Kriese has studied the careers of players making the transition from the various levels of professional tennis and for the elite ones; from good to great. If there is one thing that Kriese is certain is that, “breakdowns almost always come before breakthroughs.”
“I have observed good players make dramatic breakthroughs to higher levels immediately after what they perceive to be the brink of disaster,” Kriese begins. “There is just something about a gut-wrenching loss and a few setbacks where you start to question is it really worth all the effort and sacrifice. Self-doubt creeps in and trust begins to fades away. The player has two choices- make a stand and fight or retreat to where there is less pressure and pain. Some go forward and others crack.”
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