Your business

Andy Murray talks tennis, training and teamwork

Noel Butwell

In an exclusive interview with Standard Life, Andy Murray shares his insights into getting the most out of his performance, and the importance of analysing, reviewing and developing his game.

I never failed to be impressed with Andy Murray when I see him on court, battling it out with the very best in the world. The hunger, the desire, the passion! All things that we see laid bare on the court during every single match. I've always been interested not only on the end performance, but the things that we don't see that happen long before he is on court. The sacrifices made, not just by Andy, but his entire team and support network who need to be at the top of their game and match Andy's drive and talent.

So what is it that makes a world class team? “A good work ethic, strong values and, if they are travelling with me a lot, fun to be with!” explains Andy. Personal traits and characteristics are obviously important to him. The team around Andy has been carefully constructed to ensure it has the right expertise for him to call on when he needs it, and having the right people is at the very heart of that.

At this level of the global game, everyone in the team clearly has total commitment. While Andy is the one standing on court, it is clear that he understands and respects the commitments made by his team: “I spend a huge amount of time with them. I always have three people travelling with me – my coach Jamie Delgado, a physio and one of my strength and conditioning team. They are with me for my training blocks and every tournament. Some of them spend more time with me than their families, and I’m very grateful for that.”

With this level of commitment trust can be built as there is a deep understanding that the team are aiming for the same goals... to win! “The team I’ve got in place has been around me for a while now and that’s good, because it can be unsettling having people leave or new people settling in. It’s important that I can trust the people I work with totally, and that I believe in what they are telling me.”

I'm sure that similarly to Andy, this is something that many of us can relate to in our businesses. Building and keeping the right team around you is a key factor in setting up for long term success. A team that you can trust and that all bring something valuable to achieving the end goal is a huge asset indeed and can allow you to add real value to your business.

In our line of business, some clients can be quite sophisticated in how much they know and have highly-complex needs, while others need a guiding hand, or something simpler. The one thing they do have in common is that they’re looking for long-term rewards, and this is where the right team with specific areas of expertise can be an incredibly powerful asset.

At Standard Life, we believe that we can be a useful part of your team. However sophisticated your clients are, we can support you with these conversations with our expert technical and investment insight. We want to be part of part of adviser's teams and have our experts help in finding the right solutions for your clients.

Improving performance by just a small percentage can make a huge difference over the long term too. Andy’s team approach every aspect of his training with surgeon-like precision. Every detail is carefully analysed and the output carefully honed to maximise Andy's performance.

“We work together on my training plans,” says Andy. “The coaches and the strength and conditioning team will work on a plan, with input from me and my physios. It’s important everybody has a say, because it’s all part of the jigsaw in making sure I can perform best in my training and best on court.”

Of course, making sure that all the training is correct is only part of the jigsaw. When it comes to game day, pre-match preparation is also managed very precisely: “I prepare for every tournament in a similar way. I’m extremely focused on making sure that I’m well rested and hydrated, and that I’m confident I’m ready for the match. I’ll talk through tactics with my coaching team before the match, spend some time with my physio, and then go through my usual warm-up routine. My warm-up is the same every time; it’s an important time for me as it’s really the time where I start to focus and get myself in the zone.”

However, while the analytical and psychological aspects are vital, sometimes Andy just has to put the graft in now to get results in the future. It isn’t always fun and he admits his least favourite are the gruelling heavy weights sessions.

“These involve high weight and low reps,” Andy explains, “so I’m often pretty tired and sore after them. They’re a necessary evil though, and ensure that I maintain the explosive power I need to succeed on the court.”

Always looking ahead to the next opportunity, Andy and his team are never 100% satisfied and constantly fine-tune the whole team’s approach as conditions change: “I continually adjust my training and preparation as new techniques or ideas or technologies come onto the market. I’m probably playing in one of the hardest eras of tennis ever, and you continually have to look at ways to adjust your game to get the edge over the competition.”

Working in the “hardest era” is something that probably resonates with a lot of us. Right now we’re seeing a surge in demand for advice, and with DB to DC transfers making the headlines it is front of mind for many of us. Meeting that demand on such a complex issue needs teamwork, preparation and expertise.

So when we watch Andy playing, spare a thought for the dedication, precision and teamwork behind every cross-court winner.

This article should not be regarded as financial advice and is based on our understanding in June 2017. The value of investments can go up or down and may be worth less than you paid in.