Good morning Mark Jeffery, thanks for being here today. Could you please tell us a little about yourself and your career to date?
Mark Hi! Thanks for inviting me here today and I should say at the beginning thanks for being called Mark ….its so much easier to remember each others names …..and that’s important when you get past 60!
So I have been a tennis player since the age of four, when allegedly small crowds used to gather watching me hit balls with my dad ..thinking they had spotted the next Wimbledon champion! so I’ve been playing over sixty years.
I was also a RMA Sandhurst trained HM Forces Officer, Army tennis champion singles and doubles on a number of occasions, I have captained and been Number One player for the Army vs the RAF and the NAVY on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon in total for around fifteen years (!) , represented The Combined Services, The International Club of Great Britain and have played for tennis clubs around the world (wherever I was posted for tours of duty) ….I knew my way round a tennis court.
So, Mark you have created ‘Big Point Player’, tell us a little about it?
Well it mostly stems from my own history but then some throw away comments when I was watching Wimbledon.I’ve had some famous wins but also famous losses. ..the euphoria of the win didn’t last long but the pain of the losses have lasted a lifetime! Unfair isn’t it?
Sometimes I won. Sometimes I lost. I always did my best but it seemed like ‘chance’ AND always that horrible feeling of ‘doubt’ entered my brain, breathing got shallow, chest got tight and limbs got stiff in 50/50 situations…not ideal conditions to close out matches.
Army final 6-0 3-0 and lost
Match at Wimbledon vs RAF number one that I wasn’t supposed to win ( the underdog) ..2 match points in the 3rd set had a VERY unlucky net chord …. and lost
…and so on ..and so on
The impacts of losing important, pressure packed matches that you know you should have, could have won are truly devastating and last a lifetime. Unless you’ve experienced it you can’t describe the feeling. It’s like an attack on your very ‘being’, your identity.
I saw the pattern of narrow loss. Realised I wasn’t trained for this part of the match, the game within a game. We spend all our practice time in relaxed mode, grooving shots but no-one trains you for the only part of the match that counts…raising your game under pressure.
Tennis players only encounter ‘pressure’ in tennis when it really really matters. No knowledge. No training. No nothing. Just do your best. Fight. Be mentally tough.
And then the eureka moment when I was watching Wimbledon and ALL the media, commentators, expert analysts, started saying ‘pressure’ was bad for you and eulogising this fabled, rarely seen, BIG POINT PLAYER, it occurred to me that no-one, anywhere, also says in the same breath …that pressure is good , your new best friend and here is how you can train to become A Big Point Player.
I resolved to investigate this thing called ‘pressure’ and use my tennis expertise, my military service to devise a training programme for ordinary, competitive amateurs to ‘raise their game under pressure’ and become Big Point Players. After all, how difficult could it be?!
What are your inspiration and goals for ‘Big Point Player’, and how did you come up with it?
My main inspiration were my own agony of narrow losses.
Then one day, years after the searing pain of the ‘unlucky’ Wimbledon loss, I remembered training for a particular tour of duty and I was doing all the training, the processes well but there was the niggling feeling of how would I perform when actually on a mission and shot at………so I confessed this to my training Staff Sergeant and he said ‘trust the training Sir. The training will kick in’
And I thought then ‘well if there is training you can trust to automatically kick in for life or death, no action replay situations, surely with the help of many experts I can devise a training that will automatically kick in for tennis and the win or lose, many action replay situations!’
Then, having seen what was now ‘obvious’ and no-one had seen nor had a solution, then spent painstaking years on research and testing …then seeing the quick and dramatic results on peoples lives on and off court ……getting this precious thing called PROOF on a consistent basis … that tennis players, all around the world, just like me, shouldn’t have to go through decades of ‘experience’ and figure it out themselves.
‘you learn most from your losses’ and other myths (lies)
Being a Big Point Player is a skill like any other skill such as a serve or forehand ….AND when we repeat and repeat this skill ( a mixture of five main skills) then it gets to automacity ie WHO YOU ARE …we shift from knowledge to skill to ‘who you are’.
It is I believe the world’s first, proven, MODULAR training programme to become a Big Point Player hence back yourself 100% to win, and then win, those tight, pressure packed, 50/50 matches. get the ‘W’s not the ‘L’s.
Tell us about the journey you took, from the planning stage till launch?
Oh my goodness! I started off thinking it would be straightforward.
So many learnings’. So many ‘I don’t know what I don’t know’ . No clear path to follow. Every day was re-invention.
How to decode Military training? Then transform this into Tennis training? Then bring in the added dimension of spiritual and personal transformation training?
Then have three years of testing, testing, testing – online and offline to both improve ‘the method’ and improve my ability to deliver the method – always under different elements of under pressure conditions.
LIVE immersive selection and training two or three day regimes around the world …Aldershot, Barcelona, Florida, Wimbledon, Croatia with tennis players of all ages, all capabilities literally from all around the world. People used to fly in out of state, out of country and often from out of continent. Even that fact shocked me and continues to shock me.
There is clearly a wide spread frustration out there and with seemingly few people to train them to BE a ‘Big Point Player’ and TRAIN the way big point players train and finally GET the results that Big Point Players get
AND at all ages (youngest BPP so far is 15 and the oldest 72) and a wide range of capabilities from a good beginner through to 5.0 and more.
Then training in three main areas.
1. How to make the training more and more simple. Easy to consume, easy to put into practice and get quick results. The methodology, or process or formula is now called the T.R.U.S.T method.
2. And at the same time to train myself to be better at delivering the training both LIVE and online. (this is work in progress!) Understand that I am in my 60’s, have no coaching badges, nor won any national or international titles. I was lucky to work closely with two world class tennis coaches with international reputations, Tomaz Mencinger and Robert Carlbo who were most generous with their time and expertise, and had forgotten more about tennis coaching than I had learnt.
3. AND if that wasn’t enough, learn about the new digital world hence bring this one of a kind training to those that need and want it.
And all along in sections 1,2 and 3 I made loads of mistakes/failures. MUCH time, energy and cash (sort of) wasted.
What was the largest problem you encountered along your journey and how did you resolve this?
Phew! well there is a reason why no-one in the world has devised a modular training method to teach the skill of Big Point Player. it was fiendishly difficult to decode what HM Forces trains and then re-engineer it for tennis. Much of the training is invisible not visible. How do you train the invisible at the same time as training the visible?
And then the final piece of the jigsaw was to train five separate disciplines at the same time, not in separate silos but simultaneously. As said previously to shift from no knowledge – knowledge – skill – to unconscious competence ..it is who you are. layers and layers of thick ‘W’ myelin.
And probably the biggest problem was for me to get out of my own way. The niggling voice in my head ‘who the hell do you think you are to train anyone’. Why would anyone listen to you’
you are too old
you are unqualified etc
I confess I nearly gave up on a number of occasions. If it wasn’t for my passion for this great game, my bloody mindedness and that I had got past the ‘half pregnant’ stage I would have given up. If I knew then what I know now I might not have started.
HOWEVER as some of my students have said to me ‘do NOT underestimate the desperation out there’ ….So even the possibility of radically altering WHO people know themselves to be and WHAT they know they are capable of is my reason for persevering.
There is so much more learning and action for myself, Robert Carlbo and others to do. In fact we have just got our first totally trained Big Point Player expert in pickleball and he, Tim Hensley is doing an outstanding job in delivering the method/formula/process and getting the same sort of rave reviews and changes in lives on and off the court.
Finally, I for one know what it is like and have been on a similar journey myself going through the phases and finally reaching the ‘launch’ phase. Once you have officially launched ‘Big Point Player’ how do you aim to make it the success it deserves?
Strangely enough it is to take my own medicine. To use the T.R.U.S.T method on myself and the business of Big Point Player
There is so much to do in terms of online training, singles and doubles, LIVE 2 or 3 day ‘selection and training regimes’ even sometime in the future a Certified BPP Coaches programme so they can train winners not players at a local level. We are lucky to have trained Allan Slawson in Ohio USA and Staff Sergeant Dave Perry in Aldershot Hants UK
As Novak Djokovic said when being interview by Sue Barker immediately after winning Wimbledon….completing his journey from hero – zero – hero ……(at critical moments, under great pressure) ‘you just have to trust yourSELF and trust the PROCESS. That is what we train as a modular process and that is what I am training myself in.
We have just invented the, …… you’re just …………ONE POINT AWAY challenge which is the entry level training.
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Mark Wylam (Owner Sportsprosconnect.com)