Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.
-The Buddha

Learn to let go. That is the key to success.

Thinking too much—Bad.

Putting too much pressure on results—Bad.

Letting go and trusting your game—Good.

You can think during practice, but during competition, just trust your hard work and have fun.

Take a moment and think about a past peak performance you had. Didn’t you play loose? Weren’t you just playing?

The more you can let go, the better your results.


Practice like you are the worst player.

Compete like you are the best player.

Work hard in practice.

Stay loose in competition.


Dr. Alan Goldberg is one of the top sports psychologists in the world. Goldberg says you have to know when to be serious in sports.

“The time to try hard and get serious should ONLY be WHEN YOU PRACTICE and NEVER, EVER WHEN YOU STEP INTO THE COMPETITIVE ARENA,” says Goldberg.

“When you get ‘serious’ about the outcome of any game, match or race you inadvertently set yourself up for frustration and failure.”

Think about a time when you performed “in the zone” or “in flow.”

Didn’t you “just” do it? Weren’t you focused but relaxed?

That’s peak performance.

How do you do it?

Focus on your strategy, effort and attitude, instead of the outcome.


“Relax don’t do it. When you want to to go to it. Relax don’t do it…But shoot it in the right direction. Make making it your intention.”

Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Matt Davis, president of the USPTA Illinois Division.

One of the biggest challenges in sports is to stay relaxed when the pressure’s on. The great ones do it with ease, but they weren’t born that way – they were trained that way. It’s just like anything else, you have to condition yourself to be or act a certain way. If you don’t, whatever happens, happens.

So imagine this…

You’re in New York City. It’s summer and it’s hot. There are people all around you, bumping into you and you feel like a sardine. You can hear all the loud cars honking at each other and a taxi zooms by, changing lanes without even signaling. There’s a man talking to himself on the corner. The noises get louder and louder. There is a man dressed in a gorilla suit handing out flyers, yelling “Sale today!” There are literally thousands of things happening all at once.

Now, imagine stepping into a building, it’s the Empire State Building. It’s air-conditioned. You take the elevator up to the top floor. It’s quiet and not too crowded. As you walk up to the glass window, a sense of calm enters you. You look out at the peaceful skyscrapers and the sky. You can see the Hudson River. Next, you look down at the slow moving people and silent cars. You notice your breath. You’re breathing deeply and you are relaxed. You smile.

Now come back to the present moment.

You just performed a type of meditation. When you’re on the tennis court, there will be distractions. Sources may be spectators, weather conditions, loud noises, your opponent, and yourself. The only distraction you can control is yourself.

So imagine you are back in New York City and there are all these distractions. But then you enter the Empire State Building and go up to the top floor. You calmly observe all the things going on around you, but you let them go. Your focus is on the ball. Your energy, your effort. And your game plan. You take a couple deep breaths and get ready to play your game – relaxed and focused.

And if at any time, you start to feel stressed or distracted, just take a couple deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. This will relax you and bring you back to the present moment.

You can do a variation of this exercise if you get nervous before a presentation at school or work. Or before your piano recital.

There will always be distractions around you. You can’t control that. But you can control your perception and focus. The key is staying relaxed, in the present. Deep breaths are your natural anchor.

Thanks for reading.


I have a feeling someone reading this message has been stressed.

Perhaps you were stressed about your sport, your job or your relationship.

Stress is the biggest killer in the world.

So how can you decrease stress in your life?

I was just meditating on my balcony on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. I was looking out at the ocean. The blue water was crashing alongside the ship with a calming sound. The air smelled fresh. I had gratitude for everything I have in my life, the good and the bad.

What can you do?

Listen to some calming music or sounds of nature.
Be grateful.
Watch some comedy.
Work out.

I know what you’re thinking, I don’t have the time…

Well guess what?

If you’re too busy to make time for relaxation…

You’re too busy!

Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow…Snorkeling with sea dragons in Melbourne.