Get Your Game On!: To Boost Sports Performance, Eat Raw and Visualize
Jul 01, 2011 08:21AM
● By Linda Sechrist
The key to tennis professional Tom Avery’s consistently high energy level and peak performance on the court frequently surprises his clients. A passion for “the sport for a lifetime” and a raw food diet are what allow him to enjoy his favorite game seven days a week at the age of 62.
Avery’s interest in using natural methods for maintaining optimal health began at age 32. “I read every book I could find and shopped at health food stores, but I was 58 years old before I found information on the benefits of eating a diet of strictly raw foods,” says Avery, the founder of Consistent Tennis Wins. After reading several books about the raw food movement, he suggested to his wife that they begin eating living food prepared as closely as possible to its original state.
Big Benefits from Eating Raw
The payoff for two years of eating a 100 percent raw food, low-fat diet has made the effort worthwhile: enhanced nutrient absorption, easier digestion, no food cravings, heightened mental clarity, sustainable weight and increased stamina and energy, which Avery puts to good use teaching tennis and winning matches. “I don’t need to take a lot of different supplements any more to address any specific health challenge, and I feel better now than I’ve felt all my life,” Avery enthuses.
On his RawFoodChamp.com website, Avery shares his favorite recipes, including the fruity ones that provide him with enough fuel to spend two to three hours on a tennis court in intense heat. At a consistent weight of 155 pounds, Avery needs a high caloric intake to maintain his energy level during tennis matches and teaching sessions. “Fruit is my perfect fuel; it is high in calories, burns clean in my system, is easy on my digestion and readily assimilated by my body,” says Avery, who frequently consumes a lunch of 10 to 12 bananas, with in-season fruits such as blueberries, strawberries or mangoes. He blends everything with a quart of water in his Vitamix blender, and additional chopped fruit on top satisfies his need to chew.
“Fruits such as bananas, blueberries and dates provide me with 1,100 to 1,200 calories that don’t require energy for digestion, like a sandwich of bread, meat and cheese,” advises Avery. Raw food meals leave the tennis dynamo feeling satiated, a key to eliminating his food addictions. “I don’t need the organic pizzas or the chocolate almonds that I used to make special trips to the health food store to purchase,” he says. Avery confesses that initially, it took discipline to eat raw. “But after noticing that I had more energy and felt better, it was easier to adapt and eat for health,” says the self-taught player, who is certified by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association.
Tennis Tips and More
A graduate of Vic Braden Tennis College, a tennis camp for adults, Avery has been enjoying the game for more than 35 years, competing with world-class players and teaching and coaching at local resorts such as The Ritz-Carlton, Naples; Naples Grande Beach Resort; and The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. He draws upon his wealth of knowledge and experience to help other tennis hopefuls with instruction and racquet advice in a book and DVD series titled Consistent Tennis Wins.
Proven tennis techniques that provide consistency are Avery’s specialty, along with his transition coaching and consulting for a healthier and happier you. Generous with his website health and tennis tips, he also gives away free 10-minute tennis lessons and weekly fruit shopping excursion advice. “Eating raw isn’t enough for improved health,” he notes. “You need to exercise, and a low-fat raw food diet gives you energy for that, whether it’s walking, running, bicycling, stretching or bodyweight exercises. Getting the heart and lungs activated improves circulation and the body’s ability to remove toxic waste.”
Jasse Matasse, LifeSuccess Consultant
While Avery’s secret energy-generating tennis tip is edible, Jasse Matasse’s involves feeding the brain with effective imagery, using the Inner Game of Tennis Focusing Technique. For more than 30 years, this veteran hypnotherapist and owner of LifeSuccess Consulting has been helping clients strengthen their self-belief and develop the habit of visualization with specific images that get them into “thezone” and improve their game, both on the tennis court and golf course.
Mental rehearsal is used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and in the sports arena. For example, NASA astronauts use mental rehearsals on Earth in order to imagine accomplishing particular tasks in space. Sports psychologists also use this process to train athletes how to swing, hit, run or perform any athletic movement, as if they were in the zone or, “in the flow,” as suggested by author Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, in his book, Flow. The hallmark of this state is a feeling of spontaneous joy, effortless power and even rapture while performing a task.
“Nearly every player at some stage in their career has experienced this feeling to some extent, and then wondered afterwards how they did it,” says Matasse. “The answer is, by tapping into the part of the mind that we all have: the powerful subconscious, through which any athlete can rise to levels of play that stagger the imagination.”
Matasse uses hypnotherapy and a visualization technique to help athletes get in the zone where their conscious mind, normally busy with judgmental and interpretive chatter, becomes quiet. “This allows the more powerful subconscious to run their performance on automatic pilot,” she explains. “Strokes can then flow with effortless reflexes and power in a way that could never be matched by conscious thought.”
Inner Game of Tennis Focusing Technique
Matasse says this technique is a form of safe and easy self-hypnosis that employs imagery, the language that the mind uses to communicate with the body, to program the subconscious mind for success. By using the technique and vividly imagining playing the perfect match at your next tournament as if it is actually happening in the moment, you will be using a method that Olympic athletes have applied for many years. It produces results.
Every evening for 30 days, while enthusiastically declaring, “Every day, in every respect, I get better and better,” visualize what you do well in your tennis game. See and feel yourself making the perfect shot. Or, you can see another player making the perfect shot and in your mind you can move into their body and feel them making the shot.
As you make the statement, press down on the pinkie of your right hand. Continue through to your thumb and then press the thumb of your left hand until you have pressed and repeated the statement 10 times.
Be certain to use all your senses. Imagine seeing the players, court and surroundings in color. Hear the sounds of people cheering you. Feel the racquet, wind and sun. Most importantly, feel the amazing joy of victory and know that you deserve to win.
“When this exercise is done every day for 10 minutes, just before bed, an athlete will gradually notice a shift in their confidence levels before and during matches, and their results will steadily improve,” notes Matasse.