No matter what kind of competition I’ve ever signed up for I always felt the pressure of being extreme before the event started. Controlling the fear of failure has always been so hard to handle. Even when I told myself that it was just a game, it still hurt to lose a match…
Because of my own experience, I try to lessen the pressure on my kids in everything they do. Instead of mentioning the win or winning, I’ve been giving them a speech that emphasizes the hard work, passion, and love for what they do.
Before their matches begin, I tell them to go out there and have fun or give their best. They know that I’d be happy to see them fight for every point even if they don’t win the “battle”.
Now, those of you who have been following the My Daddy / My Coach video series (where I have recorded the lessons with my own daughters from their very beginnings until competitive level) know that I have two daughters: Cezara (who is now 10 years old) and Bianca (9 years old). For the last 2 years they have been enrolled into the tough European under 10 competitions. They’ve had some success and… sometimes have not.
I got to know my kids so much more just by preparing and watching them compete:
One of the major things I learned is that you cannot make champions. THEY ARE BORN!
For many years I thought that anyone can produce champions if the environment is created accordingly.
Take for example my older daughter, Cezara: she loves to read, likes quiet times, loves animals, and is very sensitive to see anything suffer (whether it is a plant, animal or human).
And she gets very nervous before her tennis competition: she gets stomach sick, stuffy nose, etc. She inherited my emotions ten times over… (:
That’s why I decided not to enrol her into any competitions from now on; unless she really wants to.
On the other hand, Bianca is outgoing, happy, and very vocal (but not with strangers). Loves to sing, hates to read, and is very creative in everything she does.
Bianca loves competitions, but does not like to practice (typical for the talented ones). I only have to mention that there is a tournament nearby and she jumps for joy and begs me to sign her up…
I found that a major characteristic of a “gifted player” is to welcome pressure and competition.
Talent comes next.
Then comes the hard work and… vision.
Therefore, when comparing the personalities of my two daughters, one can only notice that no matter what you try to achieve with your students (or children) there has to be a particular foundation which they are… born with.