I see a majority of junior tennis players and specifically adolescents to teenagers that are going through the motions in training and competition. They are not mentally engaged in the activity. My question is WHY? They look like they have to be out there instead of want to be out there. It is obvious to me from the first minute based on their non-verbal behavior whether they are there because they want to be or "think they have to be". I have felt the same way about tennis. When I was in the 12 and under age group, I loved playing the game and was focused on enjoying the game and getting better each time out. I am highly competitive so of course, if it was a game against anyone I wanted to win! I wanted to compete against everyone-younger, older, bigger, smaller, better, worse, male or female. It didn't matter to me-I just wanted to compete! However, my main purpose for playing tennis was truly enjoyment. It brought me great joy to be out on the court. No one was making me practice for 2 hours. I wanted to! As I got into the 14's, 16's, and 18's, I lost sight of what I was playing for and fell into the trap of worrying about my results. I stopped enjoying consistently training and competition. The quality of my training decreased dramatically! Although I was physically at practice, mentally I was elsewhere. There was not the intensity, focus and effort that I had brought to the court from 6-12 years old. I was wasting my time and energy for the most part, wasting countless golden opportunities, wasting practice partners's time, and my coaches' time and energy. I believe this occurred because I fell into the mindset of focusing on results defining my self worth-a fixed mindset instead of cultivating a growth mindset that was focused entirely on enjoyment, learning and growth. So what can we learn from this? I think the take away is to focus on loving the game and focus on learning and improvement as the core foundation of WHY you play. This is your life not anyone else's to live. It is scientifically proven that happiness leads to success. Success does not automatically bring happiness. When we cultivate a growth mindset-one where mastery and the passion to play are the driving forces, I know that we will actually attain higher levels of joy and achievement. Maybe you can learn from my experience. I wish you all the joy that this great game can bring!
A Disciplined Mind~training your mind to excel in sports and life
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