Tennis lessons.

A characteristic of tennis, shared by cricket, is the tiny proportion of a game that is taken up by the actual amount of time when the ball is in play. For tennis its around  6 to 8 minutes  per hour on a slow clay court and rather less on the grass at Wimbledon.

This means that as spectators the majority of our time is taken up observing the player’s body language  between points.  The players too have more time to be aware of their opponents body language and be influenced by it.  In my own sport of athletics, the start of the 100 metre sprint is a classic showtime for the confident  swagger of a Usain Bolt or a Dwain Chambers.

Switching on Wimbledon  television as an experiment, with the sound turned down and scores masked,  it is easy to tell who was winning. It is the one with the  energy, the attitude, the freedom of movement,  the  positive expression and an irresistible air of confidence.

In pitch rehearsals I have not yet found a way of ignoring the words completely but have found that using my eyes only can be the best way of judging a  potentially winning performance!

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