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SCTA #1 Cali Interview: PART ONE

Maximize Your Tennis Potential: The Second Edition of The Tennis Parent’s Bible NOW available through most online retailers!  Click Here to Order

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The following interview features an interview with Cali Jankowski, the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) #1 ranked player! I’ve been lucky enough to have been coaching Cali since she was about 12 years old. It’s exciting to see organized teens willing to give back to the game and help the next generation. I’m sure that her advice will assist parents and athletes in maximizing their potential at a quicker rate.

Cali Jankowski

Age Started: 9 years old
First Tournament: 10 years old
Residence: Southern California
Notable Results:

  • 14’s Winter National Champion
  • 14’s Intersectional National Champions Team Member
  • 2 Time Henry Talbert Winner
  • 16’s Intersectional National 2nd Place Team Member
  • 16’s National Clay Courts 5th Place
  • 16’s National Selection Winner
  • 18’s Yamasaki Winner
  • 18’s Mike Agassi No Quit Winner
  • 18’s Ojai Winner
  • 18’s National Selection Winner
  • 18’s National Clay Courts 4th Place
  • 18’s Stanford Eve Zimmerman/Johnson National Winner

 

NOTE TO THE NEXT GENERATION:
An In-Depth Interview with SCTA #1 Cali Jankowski

Q: At what age did you begin your SCTA tournament career? 

A: I was ten years old when I played my first ever tennis tournament. It was a small, round-robin tournament at a local high school. I didn’t come home with any hardware but definitely caught the competitive bug.

 

Q: Did you belong to a multi-generational tennis family or did your parents have to learn right along with you? 

A: Not in the slightest! My dad played in high school and my mom played in ladies league. Neither of them had any idea what the world of competitive junior tennis was like. As a family, we were constantly learning something new about what to do and what not to do.

 

Q: How did they navigate the junior tennis wars?

A:  It was a lot of trial and error for them. We had zero connections to the tennis world, so we had to find out for ourselves what coaches and clinics were most beneficial by trying. This meant trying a place for a few weeks and then deciding whether or not to move on or stay. My parents always had my best interest at heart and knew that there would be a good coach out there to refine my skills; it was just a matter of stumbling across that club or coach.

 

Q: In the 12’s, were you getting the results you believed you were capable of achieving? 

A: I was awful in the 10’s and early 12’s. I didn’t win my first Open Tournament until I was 12. I believe this was because I played very differently from my opponents- I was a hard hitter. I fell in love with tennis because it was so fun to hit the ball really hard, so anytime I came across a pusher (Like in every tournament!), I would collapse mentally, and my strokes would fall apart. I don’t think I was getting the results I was capable of. While my first coach was a firm believer in making sure I stuck to my aggressive style, he never gave me the tools I needed to take down pushers/retrievers. This was my biggest downfall.

 

Q: What came easily to you in the 14’s… what proved more difficult?

A:  I definitely started to make strides once I hit 13 or so. I was adding more dimensions to my game and adjusting my training to quality over quantity. At my peak in the 14’s, I reached about top 10 in SoCal. I was starting to understand what it took to beat any style of player. However, this mindset was very inconsistent. For me, it was difficult to maintain that high level of focus and patience for more than a few matches in a row. I finally had a massive breakthrough when I was 14; I kept my focus for an entire tournament and won the Winter Nationals, out of nowhere, as the 16 seed! This definitely gave me a huge boost of confidence.

 

 

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Customizing a Developmental Plan

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
Click Here to Order Frank Giampaolo

 

ASSESSMENT

Customizing a Developmental Plan

When I accept a new client, I begin their session with a collection of detailed information as part of my Customized Evaluation Package. Upon completion of the evaluation, each component of the athlete’s game is systematically graded by three separate entities: the player, the parent and I. Most often, three different opinions result.  Typically, the players think they are great in all categories regardless of their actual skill level, the typical Type A personality parents believe their children are underachieving in most categories and I represent an unbiased professional opinion (usually somewhere in the middle). My role is to find a synergy of energy to bridge the gap between parent and child so a harmonious organizational plan can be activated to maximize potential.

I begin by gaining an understanding of the child’s personality profile, their athleticism, their athletic history, as well as their family’s athletic history. We don’t stop there. Discussions cover their general sports IQ (intelligence quotient), their current weekly developmental schedule, their academic schedule, their social calendars and their sport-specific schedules. We then dive into their sport-specific IQ, their current technical skills, their opinions regarding the demands of physical fitness, mental tenacity, and their emotional skill sets. All assets and liabilities are assessed before a customized developmental plan is put into effect.

This organizational process of designing an athletic blue-print should be the parent’s primary responsibility but is most often left to chance. Parents who take the time to develop a customized plan put their child in a position to maximize their potential at a faster rate. Note that for each stage of adolescence (early/mid/late), there are several common developmental protocols that most coaches follow. I challenge you to go deeper.

 

“Assessing your child’s abilities and developing a customized game plan begins with understanding their inborn strengths and weaknesses. Their brain type and body type play the most important role in understanding their developmental pathway.”

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Gain the Competitive Edge

The following post is an excerpt from Neuro Priming for Peak Performance NOW available!
Click Here to Order NEURO PRIMING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE_3D

Pre-Plan Solutions for Panicking 

To gain the competitive edge under pressure, identify personal verbal and physical triggers for panicking and then practice the solutions both on-court and off-court (neuro priming.)

 

Energy Flow Management

  • I’ll control the playing speed of the match.
  • I’ll control the positive energy of the match.
  • I’ll inflate my fight to deflate their will to battle.

 

Game Day/Pre-Match Preparation

  • I will listen to my audio tapes to pre-set an excellent performance.
  • I will morph into an athletic warrior.
  • I will warm up my primary & secondary strokes.
  • I will go for a short run right before the match.
  • I will focus on performing excellently … not perfect.
  • I will trust my training and my awesomeness.

 

 

 

 

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Maximizing Tennis Growth Potential

The following post is an excerpt from the Second Edition of The Tennis Parent’s Bible NOW available through most online retailers!  Click Here to Order  black_ebook_design2

 

 

 

 

 

ACCELERATED GROWTH BLUNDER: Not Seeing Stumbling Blocks as Stepping Stones

 

Regardless of the comfort level, accelerated growth demands aborting ineffective strokes, strategies or tactics and systematically re-tooling them. Change is mandatory for growth.

 

“Change is the only thing that’s permanent.”

Here’s a terrific example: a few years back, Molly Scott (former 2006, SCTA #1, Dartmouth College #1 standout) sprained her non-dominant left wrist.

Her initial position was to follow protocol which was no tennis for 4-6 weeks. Molly called saying, “Frank, I have to cancel my training for 4-6 weeks because my left arm is sprained.”

I said, “That’s upsetting, but we needed some time to switch focus anyway. This actually fits into a new developmental plan. We’ll begin to organize your proactive patterns and between point rituals, we’ll develop your one-handed slice backhand drop shot and your low, backhand volley. Let’s begin today with a new 4-week crash course on lower body fitness and stamina.” Molly’s voice dropped to this low, quiet depressed tone, “ooohhh….really..aahh…that’s… um….super.”

 

Six weeks later Molly beat a top ten player in the nation as she applied her newfound slice backhand drop shot to perfection!

 

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ASSESSMENT: Customizing a Developmental Plan

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
Click Here to Order

Raising Athletic Royalty

 

ASSESSMENT

LESSON: Customizing a Developmental Plan

When I accept a new client, I begin their session with a collection of detailed information as part of my Customized Evaluation Package. Upon completion of the evaluation, each component of the athlete’s game is systematically graded by three separate entities: the player, the parent, and I. Most often, three different opinions result.  Typically, the players think they are great in all categories regardless of their actual skill level, the typical Type A personality parents believe their children are underachieving in most categories and I represent an unbiased professional opinion (usually somewhere in the middle). My role is to find a synergy of energy to bridge the gap between parent and child so a harmonious organizational plan can be activated to maximize potential.

I begin by gaining an understanding of the child’s personality profile, their athleticism, their athletic history, as well as their family’s athletic history. We don’t stop there. Discussions cover their general sports IQ (intelligence quotient), their current weekly developmental schedule, their academic schedule, their social calendars and their sport-specific schedules. We then dive into their sport-specific IQ, their existing technical skills, their opinions regarding the demands of physical fitness, mental tenacity, and their emotional skill sets. All assets and liabilities are assessed before a customized developmental plan is put into effect.

This organizational process of designing an athletic blueprint should be the parent’s primary responsibility but is most often left to chance. Parents who take the time to develop a customized plan put their child in a position to maximize their potential at a faster rate. Note that for each stage of adolescence (early/mid/late), there are several standard developmental protocols that most coaches follow. I challenge you to go deeper.

 

“ASSESSING YOUR CHILD’S ABILITIES AND DEVELOPING A CUSTOMIZED GAME PLAN BEGINS WITH UNDERSTANDING THEIR INBORN STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. THEIR BRAIN TYPE AND BODY TYPE PLAY THE MOST IMPORTANT ROLE IN UNDERSTANDING THEIR DEVELOPMENTAL PATHWAY.”

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Neuro Priming For Peak Performance is a guidebook that provides a fresh, unique pathway to improving tennis skills through customized mental recordings to review and rehearse solutions for competitive performance. Neuro priming identifies the causes of an athlete’s anxiety and pin-points specific match situations and pre-sets their solutions. The visualization process is an essential off-court form of personalized training.

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Athletic Lesson- The Laundry List

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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Maximizing Tennis Potential with Frank Giampaolo

 

ADVERSITY

LESSON:  The Laundry List

“Great game men,” said Coach Stevens. “You guys are improving every week. We are one heck of a football team! Every one of you gave it your all out there and I’m so proud! Keep up the good work! I’ll see you Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at Riley Park for practice… READY BREAK!”

Every kid was smiling and laughing walking off the game day field, except for Randy.

Randy knew what was to come. As he slowly headed toward his father’s car his stomach was a churning ball of knots. Randy added a limp to his gait to support the ever-present fake injury. He placed his cell phone in hand to begin to text his friend about homework the moment he got into the car. These were just a few of the aversion tactics Randy regularly employed to lessen the barrage of criticism that was sure to come from his father. If he pretended to be injured and was addressing the importance of homework he needed to complete, then his father may go easy on him.

You see Randy’s dad believed that he was actually helping Randy by watching every game and compiling a detailed laundry list of Randy’s failed plays, mistakes and improvement issues. Randy’s dad didn’t even realize that he was destroying his son’s confidence and self-esteem by pointing out his every flaw. No matter how good Randy was, it was not good enough. No matter how long Randy trained, it was not long enough. No matter how many things Randy fixed, his dad would find more flaws.

Mr. Wilson did not have a clue that the only thing he was cultivating was excuses, no effort and zero enjoyment for the sport, not to mention a seriously unhealthy family environment. After all, why in the world would Randy want to play if it only led to a new laundry list of why he’s so slow, uncoordinated and stupid?

Parents, remember that the only comments you should make directly after competition are motivational and positive comments like: “I wish I had the guts to go out there and perform like that.”, “I think it’s so cool watching you out there.”, “You’re getting better and better everything day.”, “Did you have fun out there today?” or “You’re playing great; let me know if I can help you with anything!” Motivating the growth you seek comes from optimism and not from pessimism. Continually reminding your children of their failures is futile. Instead, after each game or practice session, support your child’s efforts with love and praise.

If you or your spouse possess this dreaded parental laundry list of failure disease, begin to replace the list of negative remarks with positive ones.

If you deeply feel that your laundry list is insightful and important to the growth of your child, I suggest asking the coach if you can email the list to him after the game. Then ask him if he can pay special attention to those issues. Chances are that your child will accept the valid feedback if it is presented by the coach instead of the parent. A good coach should have a better way of presenting the issues in an optimistic and positive light.

 

 

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Hurry… $0.99 Special Offer

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(Regular Price $8.99 )

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CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER

Neuro Priming For Peak Performance is a guidebook that provides a fresh, unique pathway to improving tennis skills through customized mental recordings to review and rehearse solutions for competitive performance. Neuro priming identifies the causes of an athlete’s anxiety and pin-points specific match situations and pre-sets their solutions. The visualization process is an essential off-court form of personalized training.

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Pre-Order For ONLY $0.99 Through Nov 1

AMAZON EBOOK SPECIAL!

HURRY and Get Your E-Book Edition of

Neuro Priming for Peak Performance

Pre-Order for ONLY $0.99 through November 1, 2017
(Regular Price $8.99 )

NEURO PRIMING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE_3D

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER

Neuro Priming For Peak Performance is a guidebook that provides a fresh, unique pathway to improving tennis skills through customized mental recordings to review and rehearse solutions for competitive performance. Neuro priming identifies the causes of an athlete’s anxiety and pin-points specific match situations and pre-sets their solutions. The visualization process is an essential off-court form of personalized training.

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Overthinking in Competition

The following post is an excerpt from Raising Athletic Royalty NOW available through most online retailers!
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Raising Athletic Royalty

ZONE

LESSON: Parental Fear, Stress and Overthinking

Courtney is a future star and USA nationally ranked gymnast. She lives in Bend, Oregon and is homeschooled so she can focus on her training. Courtney performs in the zone and religiously nails her routine in practice but seems to falter in actual competition.

Her mom, Kelly, called me and wanted to discuss this disconnect. “How can my daughter be so talented and never win? We do this full time. I leave no stone unturned. Courtney knows the importance of national events.  Winning the nationals is her ticket to the Olympics but she always finds a way to choke.  What’s wrong with her?”

We set up a Skype session and began to uncover why Courtney was having difficulties in competition. I asked Courtney why she felt that she was not getting the results she was capable of achieving. Quickly, Kelly interrupted, “Her head gets in the way; she’s so worried all the time.”

I then ask Courtney another conversation opener, “Courtney, performing at your peak potential requires you to begin with your pre-routine relaxation rituals. Can you tell me about yours?” Once again, Kelly jumps into the conversation, “I talk to Courtney to pump her up before each event. She acts like she doesn’t want to hear it.”

I was beginning to see the stressor that was blocking young Courtney’s ability to perform in a relaxed, positive, confident state of mind. Just to be sure, I ask Courtney one more question, “Courtney, have you ever heard of this statement: Focus on controlling the controllables and let go of the uncontrollables?” Once again, Kelly interrupts and adds, “Honey, he means your routine.”

Within the first few minutes of our hour-long Skype session, their story was already unfolding. Kids aren’t born with fear and stress. These are learned behaviors.  Kelly is both the reason Courtney is a gymnast and the stressor that is preventing Courtney from performing at her peak performance.

I then told Courtney that I would share a very similar situation I had with another gymnast from California. But first I had two questions for Courtney about an athlete’s ability to only focus on the exact protocols needed to perform at their peak- controlling the controllables.  (Controllables are the thoughts, attitudes, and feelings that pull you closer to your goal of an excellent routine. Uncontrollables are the thoughts that pull you away from focusing solely on your performance routine.)

I asked if Courtney could name a few controllables? Surprisingly, Kelly allowed Courtney to answer and she did brilliantly, “It’s, like, my cadence, my breathing, my landings?”

“You nailed it!” I said, Then I asked, “Can you name any uncontrollable thoughts that shouldn’t be in your head during competition?”

Courtney replied, “Hum…. I guess … choking?… and…winning the whole event.”

“You are correct sister!” I enthusiastically responded.

I followed up with telling her about my familiar story:

A few years ago, I worked with a gal from California with almost the identical difficulties in regards to competing. She and her mom viewed each event as a loss if she didn’t win the whole thing. We talked about flipping her goal from always having to win the event to simply perform an excellent routine. Her best overall score in a national event was 8.6.

So in her next event, the Winter Nationals, she scored an overall 9.4 – exceeding her best score ever! Then an hour later, a competitor nailed her Double Twisting Double Layout and scored an overall 9.5 to take the title.

I then asked Courtney, “Did my gal control her controllables and perform better than she’s ever performed in a national?”

“Yes, she exceeded her best score ever, right?” asked Courtney.

“Absolutely, she performed better than ever. She achieved her goal of improving her performance- a very important goal for a competitor your age. Could she control her opponent’s performance?”

“No.”  Courtney said, “That’s an uncontrollable, right?” “Right”

For the rest of the Skype session, I chatted with Kelly about her parental role of de-stressing Courtney prior to competition rather than adding stress. We talked about the ability to nurture letting go of the outcome and focus on the performance. Courtney’s issues were really manifested by Kelly’s worries, stress, and fear. Kelly promised to pay attention to her own attitudes and thoughts and try to enjoy the journey instead of agonizing over Courtney’s gymnastics.

Parents, if your focus and stress are all about the outcome, how is it possible to expect your child to focus on their performance. After all, isn’t that what matters most? Performing in the zone requires trusting your skills and letting go of the uncontrollables.

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