What Is Choking?

By Allen Fox, Ph.D.

The fight or flight response: good for dealing with bears, but not useful in tennis.

Choking is one of the truly unpleasant parts of tennis competition, and it happens from time to time to everyone, from beginners to world champions.

What is it? It is basically debilitating fear!

Choking stiffens the muscles and makes even the simplest shot difficult and the difficult shots impossible. Fine motor skill evaporates as the body prepares a massive fight or flight reaction. This set of bodily responses may be excellent for fighting a bear with a club, but is not at all useful for guiding a tennis ball over a net and into a court.

Breathing becomes rapid and labored and judgment is impaired. Some players work themselves into cramps or back spasms. All in all, it is about as unhelpful a psychological state as a tennis player can imagine.

Fortunately, it doesn't happen all the time and there are steps one can take to reduce the worst of its effects. Unfortunately, it is a problem that is never solved completely.

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Winning the Mental Match Dr. Allen Fox

Tennis is mentally the most difficult sport due to it’s personal nature which makes winning and losing feel more important than they are. In this new book, Allen offers his proven solutions to problems such as choking, reducing stress, finishing matches, and developing confidence. Based on a life time of high level play and coaching success, it’s a must for all competitive players.

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Winning may not be everything, but Dr. Allen Fox points out that, if we are honest with ourselves, winning is still eminently preferable to losing. In his new book, The Winner's Mind, Allen lays out an original step-by-step plan for succeeding at any of life's endeavors, based on his first hand and very personal observations of the careers of both world-class tennis players and successful businessman. The bottom line is that even if you are not a born champion--and only a tiny percentage of us are--you can still use the success strategies of champions to tilt the odds in your favor. Writing with brutal honesty and dry humor, Fox lays out the common mental characteristics of winners in sports and in life. He explains the critical role of intellect over emotion. He analyzes the struggle between ambition and fear and the insidious and pervasive fear of failure that undermines so many of us. He then outline how to confront and overcome these fears in your life and career, even when they are initially subconscious. Must reading from one of the great thinkers in tennis, and a Renaissance Man in life. Click Here to Order.

To purchase this book you can also send a check for $17.95 to Allen Fox, 1120 Inverness Place, San Luis Obispo, CA. 93401. The price includes shipping.

Allen Fox PhD is a former world class player, a coach, a psychologist, and one of the most original and insightful analysts in modern tennis. A top 10 American player from the glory days before Open tennis, Fox played many of the legendary greats, among them Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Stan Smith, and Arthur Ashe. At Pepperdine he developed the men's tennis program into an elite contender for national titles, and gave Brad Gilbert the insights that became the foundation for "Winning Ugly". His book Think to Win is a modern classic. He has also starred in a series of acclaimed videos, including Pro Secrets of Match Play and Allen Fox's Ultimate Tennis Lesson.


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