Posts Tagged ‘tennis’
Performance enhancing drugs have rocked the world of pro cycling… is tennis next? I certainly hope not!
Tennis matches have become marathons and players are fitter than ever and recover quickly to take on the next big opponent, so are we headed for a PED scandal?
Passion will help your athletes to succeed in sports, compassion will help them to succeed in life.
Coaches who are truly passionate about their sport put in the extra effort. They want to be better coaches, they want to know the sport more and they want to teach players how to win.
Coaches who are truly compassionate with their players put in the extra effort as well. They want to be better coaches, better people, know their players better and teach them how to be the best that they can be.
It takes passion to help elite athletes reach their potential. It takes compassion to help the rest of your athletes reach their potential. Some athletes need to be pushed, other athletes need to be pulled. Not every one of your athletes is going to have the confidence, belief or work ethic for you to push them the way you push your top tier players. Some athletes need to be pulled along for a while before they can be pushed. What I mean by that is that some kids won’t have the confidence to be able to give it everything they’ve got. It’s something that those of us who are competitive, not afraid to lose and not afraid of what others think of us, often take for granted. Some kids just don’t have enough confidence to put it on the line like that. In those cases we need to show patience and compassion in order to teach these kids how to compete.
When encouraging youngsters to play a new sport, it takes a passion/compassion combo to reach as many kids as possible, and you really must have both. If you only have passion, you’ll be tempted to discard the many young kids and say, “I only want to work with the kids who want to work hard,” or even easier, “I only want to work with the kids who want to be here.” Add the compassion element and you’ll say, “These kids are going to be better off for doing this, I need to find a way to reach them!” If you only have the compassion element, it’s easy to just focus on the kids and neglect the love of the sport that you are trying to instill in them.
A balance of passion and compassion will allow you to push the kids who need to be pushed, pull the kids who need to be pulled and make all of them feel better about themselves in the process.
Tennis is one of those sports where nearly every competition is simply summed up with, “Did you win?” Team sports lend themselves to more of a conversation on how you played, for example, “My basketball team lost, but I had 12 rebounds.” Or, “Our baseball team lost, but I had two hits and made a really nice catch.” Individual sports that are timed such as running or swimming often have nothing to do with the placing, but are based on the time. “I ran a PR by 10 seconds in my cross country race.” That PR or “personal record” may be going from 16 minutes to 15 minutes and 50 seconds, or it may be going from 26 minutes to 25 minutes and 50 seconds on the same five-kilometer course. The point is that you did better than you ever have run before regardless of if you won the race or finished last.
After a tennis match we usually say, “How’d you do?” The answer is often very too the point, “I won” or “I lost.” Sometimes a follow up question of “How’d you play?” is asked.
We get so caught up in winning matches that we miss the big picture. The fact isn’t just that You can’t win them all… but that You shouldn’t win them all. Because if you are in fact winning them all, you likely aren’t being challenged enough and you surely are missing out on the valuable lessons of losing.
A great example of the fact that you can’t/shouldn’t win them all is 4-time Oregon Class 5A boys singles state champion Alex Rovello of Cleveland high school and now the No. 1 player at the University of Oregon.
As a junior tennis player, Alex seemed to win them all for quite sometime. He went undefeated in four years of high school tennis and had a 65-match win streak against junior players in the Pacific Northwest. But in the midst of those impressive runs, Rovello wasn’t winning all of his matches. He was playing sets regularly against older, more experienced players, most of which he says he lost. “I wouldn’t win many of the sets played which deep down helped because I knew I was competing against the best that was available and it kept me motivated, “ said Rovello.
During the high school tennis season it is important to lose. Now let me make this clear, going undefeated in your high school tennis matches is a great thing! With the format of No. 1 players playing against each other all the way down to the same for No. 4 players, it is possible for you to go undefeated during your entire regular tennis season… and if you can do that, awesome!!! But what you need to do is find a player who can beat you and play them outside of your regular match time. If you are No. 2 on your team, then play a set against the No. 1 player on your team. If you lose to them that’s great experience, if you beat them, congrats you’re the No. 1 player on your team!
If you don’t have anyone on your high school team that can beat you, find someone who can and play against a set with them. Ask your coach to help you find someone if you don’t know anyone who is better than you are. This is part of the importance of “Up, Over & Down.”
Serena Williams just won another major and I have to ask, who in the history of women’s tennis would be able to compete with her? She’s too strong and just too good.