A couple weeks ago I started working on a post I thought would be a short n’ sweet list of tennis tips to adopt if you want to mentally unravel your opponent before and during a match. Little did I know that list would balloon in my head from 4 tips to 5 to 7 and now on 12 and counting. So here’s a couple more.
The truth is that every coach, every teammate, and every mentor along the way has different opinions when it comes to their preferred style of game. One coach might specialize in serves while another might prefer to focus on quick footwork. Both are crucial to your success on the court.
Full disclosure: I’m not a tennis coach. Several emails in response to the newsletter over the past couple years have reminded me as much. I don’t how to teach someone to improve their serve, I just know that it’s an important aspect of the game.
Am I right?
Heck yes I’m right.
Now that I’ve convinced you of my expertise, here’s two more tools important to your success on the court regardless of your age.
“Be confident, dummy!”
This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard a coach say. Not because the coach who said it meant it literally - quite the opposite.
But lots of coaches are serious when they try to send this type of message. They’re forcing the issue, demanding confidence like it was a particular colour of shoelaces.
Confidence is like a huge withdrawal at the bank. You can only get it if you’ve made small deposits along the way.
What do those deposits look like?
Self confidence is great and all, but it’s simply not enough, is it? For instance, I have an ironclad belief in my ability to write about sports. Heck, I believe pretty strongly in my ability to write about pretty much anything. But until that first paycheque with my company’s name on it landed in my mailbox a couple years ago, trying to pay the bills with intrinsic belief didn’t really work.
No matter how mentally tough we are, encouragement from a coach, a colleague, a reader, or a client goes a long way. I’ve done work for a lot of successful people and businesses in the past few years, and no matter how much experience they have, they’re all still determined to help their customers or their audience. Every day, with every product, every service.
Perhaps I’m stretching the analogy between playing tennis and the workforce a bit thin here, but the point remains: “I believe in you” is one of the most powerful motivators in sports.
Does the analogy work? DOES IT? PLEASE ENCOURAGE ME.
Look, I understand that most of the adults playing tennis at the North Shore Winter Club are doing so recreationally. I get accused all the time of taking sports too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun!
I don’t buy it. Sure, sports are fun, but there’s a lot to be gained by depositing your passion and work ethic into your sport of choice. For tennis players who for the most part step up to the line on their own, all they have is their belief in themselves and the lingering encouragement of their coaches.
So get out there and bring the best you possible.
I believe in you.