Tennis coaches have to teach own players a lot of things. We go through technical skills (backswing, grip), tactical skills (taking advantage of short balls, hitting with more spin while being under pressure), physical abilities (improving speed, developing dynamic balance) and mental abilities (dealing with obstacles, controlling emotions).
This category is called “Tennis skills” but we know that to make a great athlete we have to focus also on “Life skills”. We are talking about honesty, respect and responsibility to name a few.
Responsibility is the skill that I know has a big influence on player’s development. A lot of players don’t understand why this ability to “own” all actions is crucial and that is why coaches have to spend a lot of time on talking and teaching to shape this life value. As we all know parents are responsible for bringing kids up but if they don’t respect the same values as we do it is not an excuse to neglect this area in our coaching job.
Environment shapes personality. I can definitely agree with these words. People from poor neighborhoods are often more hard-working than rich families because of the simple factor: if they want to have something they have to work for it. Nothing is given for free.
A little bit different situation we can observe while coaching rich players. They have new clothes whenever they want. They travel in the most comfortable conditions. Players eat lunch and dinner in the restaurants. Why should they sweep the court on their own after the practice session? What is the reason to not complain at bad balls? Why do they have to be on time?
All these examples are related to responsibility. If players learn to be responsible for own actions they will improve at a much faster rate in tennis. Life skills are as important as tennis skills so if you focus just on one side you will never achieve your full potential. To get to know your best performance you have to develop body and mind simultaneously. Below you can find how being not responsible can destruct your game and ruin your whole career:
Coach is responsible for every loss. Coach is responsible for lack of progress. It is time to change coach right? I don’t think so. What are you responsible for? Who is playing the match – you or your coach? Are you listening to your coach and implementing all tips that he is giving you?
You are responsible for your actions. Coach can help you or not but you are the one who has to deal with both ups and downs. If you always blame someone else for your failures you will end up with hundreds of coaches and lack of results.
I have so bad luck. I am the only one who always get injuries. These are the quotes of players who are not responsible for own actions. They don’t see that improper eating habits, lack of fitness routine and poor quality of off-court workouts are reasons of many physical problems. They don’t own it.
It is much easier to say “I am unlucky” than “I am lazy during fitness session”. If you want to spend more time on court than in doctor’s office make sure that you are responsible for your actions. Good and bad.
I missed because he only hits moonballs. I made a mistake because the sun is shining right in my face. I hit the net because the court is slippery. This kind of mindset is focused on external factors. If you really want to become a successful tennis player you have to focus on yourself. You missed the ball off moonball because you got impatient.
The sun is shining right in your face so you should let the ball bounce and hit with less risk. The court is not slippery – you should work more on your balance skills. If you take this approach you will see that you are responsible for all your mistakes and you can work on your weaknesses to get better.
As you can see taking responsibility for own actions is a crucial factor to improve your game. You don’t have to do anything extraordinary to get better results on court. Start with doing breakfast on your own, getting to the courts 20 minutes before the session and don’t blame others for your failures. Step by step and soon you will see that life values can really save your tennis life.