Well, this says it all!
The top tennis players all plan their year ahead, with the aim of peaking for the grand slams – the Australian (Jan), French (May/June), Wimbledon (June/July) and the US Open (Aug/Sept), followed by the ATP Tour Finals at the end of the season (Nov). This year has seen added complications for the top players with the Olympics, which was clearly a major goal for the two finalists, providing an additional challenging, while the season is compressed with the ATP Tour Finals this year starting earlier – the beginning rather then late November.
So far we have seen Federer’s plan to get back to the top realised, following his Wimbledon win, but although his form has been phenomenal for most of the year, he described himself as emotionally drained by the time he’d lost a one sided Olympic final. Murray played tremendously well and his first win over Federer in a best of five final will hopefully be the prelude to a first slam win.
Planning, in detail, is the key to reaching high performances at the right time and, typically, all professional players sit down with their team at the end of the year to determine their key goals and what they need to do to achieve them. For the best this is the ultimate in outcome based planning, working through what the outcomes are, what performance levels are needed to achieve them and what processes they need to go through to achieve.
British Cycling has been an outstanding example of this over the last decade, with Dave Brailsford and his team planning and then executing plans to take British Cycling first to the top of the track cycling tree and latterly, to the peak of road racing with Bradley Wiggin’s victory in the Tour de France. While Bradley and other key characters like Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny may be the headline names, all are keen to stress that their success is the result of a well planned team effort, with a large and complex team. This should of course be the way we work in all areas of endeavour – if we want to be successful it needs to be, so why isn’t it?!