| By Jessica Stiles

From Aug. 6-10, Rob Polishook, mental training coach, founder of Inside the Zone Sports Performance Group, and New York Tennis Magazine contributor, led a five-day workshop at the renowned Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Omega is a trusted source for wellness and personal growth, welcoming more than 23,000 people to workshops and conferences throughout the year.

The goal of Rob’s workshop was to inform, inspire and support tennis players of all ages and levels to develop their tennis game from the “inside out.” The workshop was aptly named “Unleashing the Tennis Player Within." The primary focus was on exploring the mental game of tennis, and specifically, how the perspective of viewing the tennis player as a person first and performer second will maximize performance.

Off the court, participants broke into groups and discussed questions such as:

►What is your primary reason for playing tennis?

►What do you get back from tennis?

►What’s holding you back from performing your best?

►What would your best tennis look like?

►What would it take to commit to the process of improvement?

On the court, each day started with breathing exercises, dynamic warm-ups, demonstrations, live ball play, all to the steady beat of music. All of the on-court exercises, drills and games incorporated foam tennis balls, low-compression balls and regulation balls. The purpose was on discovering your feel, understanding your ideal tennis rhythm, creating awareness of the ideal contact point, establishing targets, and saying “yes” to “the process of relaxing and improving without negative self-talk. Each session ended with yoga.

Through this gradual progression, players of all levels had fun, experienced success and pushed themselves to achieve their best. Each day, players began to play in a more relaxed manner, view their on-court challenges with more perspective, and as a result, see their games improve before their eyes.

Workshop participants completed the workshop with a renewed feeling of satisfaction and a desire to continue to use the tools Rob encouraged throughout the week. Additionally at the completion of the workshop, each participant was given a personal Inside the Zone Gratitude, Goal and Centering Journal to help facilitate their process on their own.

Rob and his assistants, Jessica Stiles (number one singles for the University of Kentucky) and Parker Chang (number four for Washington U in St. Louis) helped set the precedent that the mental game is intricately intertwined with technique, strategy and fitness.

Previously, the program was directed by Dr. Jena Marcovicci, who created the Joy of Athletics Foundation in 1991. Skye Marcovicci, Jena’s wife, said “his vision was to awaken the bright loving spirit in children. He wanted to share his love for the game, and help others reach their potential.” Jena called the program The Dance of Tennis. Dr. Jena Marcovicci passed away in 2007. To learn more about his foundation, visit www.danceoftennis.com.

“It is an honor to continue the program at Omega, it makes me smile to know the program is being held on courts which Omega dedicated in Jena’s memory, Jena was a dear friend and mentor,”  said Polishook.

For more information about the program or mental training services, contact Rob Polishook at rob@insidethezone.com, visit www.insidethezone.com, call (973) 723-0314, or visit the Omega Web site for a listing of all of their programs at www.eomega.org.