How To Control Emotions – Allen Fox Tennis
Coach Everybody… this is Craig Sigl, the Mental
Toughness Trainer, and today I’ve got a special guest on our show. His name is Dr. Allen Fox and he just wrote
his fourth book, “Tennis: Winning The Mental Match.” Dr. Fox has earned a PhD in psychology at
UCLA and he is a former NCAA champion. He is a Wimbledon quarter finalist. A three time member of the U.S. Davis Cup
Team. He has coached the Pepperdime tennis team
to two NCAA finals. He currently consults with tennis players
on mental issues and lectures worldwide on sports psychology and how emotional control
is one of the big keys. There’s an unconscious urge to escape this
stress. Well the way the mind is designed is slightly
different than most people think. Most people think they recognize they have
an intelligent logic system. Then behind it they have an emotional system. And they think the logic and intelligent system
runs the ship. But actually that’s not correct. The emotional system runs the ship and the
logic system is made to back up the emotional system to meet the needs of the emotional
system. For instance, two examples. One we are emotionally programmed to love
our children and so that is in there. That’s emotion. Then the logical mind says well don’t let
them get near the stove when it’s hot. Don’t let them run out onto the street. Make sure they get a good education. These are all logical thoughts concepts, but
driven by the fact we are programmed to love our children. We’re a social species and so all social
species are emotionally programmed to be concerned with the hierarchy. Whose ahead of who. And so all of us then are driven to get good
educations to have a nice car because these are all indications of status. How we rank relative to others. We’re all concerned with what other people
think of us. And so then we get a good education. We work hard at our jobs. We buy nice homes. We do those things that will make other people
rank us high. And so, but it is all driven by these emotional
urges. So now we get to the tennis court where the
emotional programming was not designed for tennis matches. So players get out there and they want to
win very much. They very much don’t enjoy losing, but yet
they are under this pressure because they don’t know whether they are going to win
or lose. They play somebody as good as they are and
they may be under this stress for hours. And so there’s an unconscious urge to escape
the stress and that emotional urge will often drive the smart mind to do things that aren’t
good for it. It makes people quit. For instance, they get behind and they’re
very likely to lose motivation to tank so to speak. And you have to say, “Well… why did they
do that? What good does it do them to stop trying before
the game or match is over?” Well… it doesn’t do them any real good. The good it does them is that once you quit,
the stress goes away. Okay? So you’ve reduced your stress and see the
emotional system is not interested in whether you win or not. The emotional system is interested in reducing
the stress. It wants what it wants. The intelligent brain has to override it. So the great players they may have an urge. Or they would have an urge if they let themselves
go to quit when they get behind, but they’re not going to let that happen. Their intelligent brain is going to drive
the ship, so that’s why I say the emotional control. The smart part of the brain has to control
the emotional system, rather than the other way around, which is the normal way. And because it’s not normal, it’s rare. That’s why the great athletes the great
players are unusual. That is fascinating, so here is what I just
heard. That the guys and girls who make it to the
top, they have learned to do that. They have learned to override that emotional
thing. To take control of their system and we do
have the power to do that – is that what you’re saying? Yes… we can do it, but it takes an effort. If you just let nature take its course and
you go out and play a tennis match and you let nature take its course, you miss and you’re
going to get angry. Okay? You get behind. You’re going to get discouraged. You let a little something bother you, you
going to make excuses. These are all natural and if you yield to
that, you’re just going to lose. So the rare ones, the abnormal people, these
champions, they recognize that and they will use effort of will to override the emotional
system. And not only do they override it, but they
actually use their intelligent mind to create emotions that help them. And so if you look at this for instance, Jimmy
Conners when he was playing tennis, he might be losing and he makes one good shot and he
turns to the crowd and he shakes his fists and he looks up at them and the crowd feels
as if they are being involved in the match and they scream and yell for, “Jimmy! Jimmy! We need Jimmy! We love you Jimmy! Jimmy!” And he does that not because he cares in the
least about the people in the crowd. He cares about one thing and that one thing
is winning the match. And he knows when the crowd screams it makes
him feel good. And when he feels good, he plays better. So he uses his intelligent mind to create
emotions. The Roger Federers, they don’t need that
kind of adrenaline. He is better off when he is cool, so he doesn’t
react when he misses. The other players makes a great shot. He doesn’t generally react at all, because
he plays better when he is more relaxed. So the great players not only control negative
emotions, but they actually create positive ones that help their game to perform. So… did you like that? Well… we’ve got a lot more mental game
tips and strategies for youth athletes. Get on our training series list by entering
your email in this sign up box at And just to get you started, you’ll get
my guided visualization, “Master The Pressure,” and an eBook on how to be a great sports parent. Go to now!

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Dennis Veasley

5 thoughts on “How To Control Emotions – Allen Fox Tennis Coach”

  1. …well it's neither easy or cheep or everyone would do it, the cheepest way is to find it within you and depending on your temperament – easy to do..

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