When I was 12, my father told me that I should beat him at tennis by the age of 14. I only managed to win matches against him by the age of 18…
Now, don’t get me wrong – it is not because I was not trying or because he was that good. In fact, he was a very good player even though he started to have health related problems (sore knees, etc.). He still managed to beat me all the time. And that frustrated me badly! I didn’t understand how an older man, who was barely able to move to the ball, could still beat me!
Nowadays as a tennis coach and “older” player I find myself looking back to those moments and I can understand why I couldn’t beat my father…
Tennis is like life – the smarter the decisions you make, the better your life is going to be. My father was better at winning matches against me because he was outsmarting me on the court (and off). He knew that he would not be able to run with me on the court and chase every ball that I would throw at him so he had to make smarter decisions in order to win.
Every ball he hit was a calculated move. Every serve was thought out as far as placement and spin. Before starting the point, he knew ahead of time what he was going to do to win it… sometimes adjusting to find the right tactic in certain situations.
How do I know that? Because now, I am the “older” player. I am playing kids that I teach and they are as young as I used to be when I was playing my father.
(Singles Tennis Tactics – learn how to win in tennis)
For me, to win against my students, I have to outsmart them. Otherwise I would be running all over the court having to deal with strokes that are sometimes more powerful than mine.
I want my students to see tennis the way I see it now: like an “older” player. I want them to combine their flexibility, speed, and stamina with the power of seeing the tactics of winning through an “older” player’s eyes.
Some players are natural at that. Very rarely. Those are the true champions that often end up being seen on TV or at high level competitions. But most of them still get frustrated from the lack of understanding of what it takes to be a winner/champion.
OK, by now you should ask me: “So how can a young player think like an “older” one?” The answer lies in the power and quality of QUESTIONS!
I encourage my students to consistently ask themselves good, quality questions: “How can I beat my opponent?” “What is my opponent’s weakness?” “What can I do to be more consistent?” “How can I hit more first serves in?” and so on…
Good questions give us good answers. If our mind asks positive questions, we will find positive answers. Positive answers to our questions will translate into positive actions. Positive actions will produce positive results…
So you see, it all comes down to what we want! Do you miss a ball and dwell on how bad your stroke was and what a terrible mistake you made? Then that is what your brain will be preoccupied with.
On the other hand, if after missing a shot, you ask yourself how can you make it better next time, you will get answers on how to perform better. That kind of thinking is what winners/champions have.
I guarantee to you that by changing the way you think it will immensely affect your life and everything you want to be successful at.
Ask positive questions and you will get positive results!
Certified Tennis Teaching Professional