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Lawrence Eyre Featured in National Pro Tennis Magazine

ADDvantage, the Magazine for the United States Professional Tennis Association, features Lawrence Eyre, 2009 USPTA National High School Coach of the Year.

Get your game on track with meditation and yoga

by Eric Hinchman, USPTA

January 2012--The mind of a tennis player is the craziest thing. Consider the 1975 Wimbledon men's final when Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. Ashe was a 10-to-one underdog playing the world's No. 1, who was nine years his junior. Ashe took with him a piece of paper with five or six key points to remember, which he focused upon during changeovers.

The game plan involved switching from his normal style of big-serving shot-maker to spin-serving soft-baller, and worked to perfection the first two sets. In the third set, Ashe began going for more on his serve and straying from his plan, playing right into Connors' strengths. Connors took the third set and was up 3-1, serving at 40-30 in the fourth when Ashe escaped disaster by returning to the calculated play that had won him the first two sets. He came back to win the fourth set and the Wimbledon title.

That match begs the question: Why would Ashe abandon a strategy that was working so perfectly? Who knows? Maybe it was ego. Maybe he thought, "I'm up two sets, now I'm gonna beat him my way." Whatever his reasoning was, Ashe was able to get his mind back on track in time to save the match.

The idea that a player who was as cerebral and level-headed as Arthur Ashe could get distracted from his game plan - with a Grand Slam title at stake - shows just how tricky it is to hold the mind steady.
This fact is not lost on Lawrence Eyre. His team meditates before every practice. Eyre is the boys' tennis coach at The Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, and was named 2009 USPTA National High School Coach of the Year. Since 1991, his teams have won 17 Iowa state championships in singles, doubles, and team tennis. They were also the only team in state history to sweep singles, doubles, and team tennis in consecutive years. This is no small accomplishment considering theirs is the smallest school in the state that fields a tennis team.

Eyre does not claim to possess a secret potion or magic bullet, but acknowledges his players bring certain qualities to practice after doing yoga exercises and meditation.
"What we notice is that the kids' receptivity and wakeful ability to take in what I'm teaching or coaching or what we're working on is a lot higher. It's like cleaning the slate before practice," Eyre said.

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