David Palmer, former World #1 and winner of 4 World Open Titles & 2 British Open Titles, had the nickname “The Marine.”
This was a result of having endless stamina on the court to keep running down the ball.
It was a reflection of his physical fitness and a testament to his enduring work ethic that his opponents would start to make unforced errors.
However, his mental strength or mental fitness rarely gets a mention – even though it was actually the difference between him struggling to make the World Top Ten and claiming the World #1 spot.
More recently, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who won the Tournament of Champions and the British Open, has followed an almost identical path to David Palmer, his coach.
What Makes The Difference?
David used specific tools, consistently and with faith, to change his unconscious beliefs that dictated his performance and results. Those tools were primarily:
- Affirmations; and
Both of these were enhanced with the aid of meditation.
In David’s case, it meant listening to guided meditation tapes that reinforced the beliefs he was wanting to instil into his sub-conscious.
Beliefs are what determine the results you get, even though they are often not logical.
A Miracle, Perhaps?
For David to be ranked at around #14 in the world and to be telling himself that he is the best player in the world – that takes faith in the process and builds great mental fitness.
Some would say it’s delusional.
He didn’t always have strong mental fitness – he trained it, patiently & persistently.
His climb up the world rankings was a consequence of his advantage, as stated by himself, in playing the bigger tournaments better than other players.
If we were to grade a player’s performance potential on a scale of 1-10 in terms of being able to utilize their potential squash skill at any one time, other players who would get nervous in the bigger tournaments might only play at an 8 of their full potential, whereas David would regularly play at a 9.
Even though David’s 10 might not have been as good as another player’s 10, his mental fitness allowed him to maintain a steady 9, which more often than not was better than someone else’s fluctuating 7 or 8.
His mental fitness was more finely tuned because he practiced it regularly. And this was despite being told as a junior player that he should pursue something else, that he would never amount to much as a squash player!
Where Does This Leave You?
The example of David Palmer using affirmations and visualization during training, then before & during a match remaining calm & focused can be reduced to awareness.
Funnily enough, the nature of increasing awareness and the process of training mental fitness, if reduced to the root level of the brain with the correct approach and understanding, is identical to physical fitness.
The best technology to help dramatically accelerate this process in a general way is with a tool called Holosync, from Centerpointe Research Institute.
Training your mental fitness means, for example, vividly imagining yourself playing a shot perfectly, controlling rallies as you occupy the center “T”, and retrieving every ball your opponent hits.
Bridging The Gap Between Physical & Mental Fitness
Now, am I saying never have a hit on the squash court – to never physically train like that third group in the basketball experiment discussed in Mental Fitness (Part 1)?
No – absolutely not!
I am saying you should be doing both – physical and mental training are two sides of the same coin.
In Part 3 of Mental Fitness, we’ll explore the best ways for you to visualize so that it translates into something real for you on court and in matches.
Have fun & play your own game!