Millions of people around the world run on the tennis court and try to hit the ball away from the opponent. It doesn’t matter where you live or how good you are the purpose of this game is the same – you have to win the point, then gem, then set and finally the whole match. People who are competitive spend a lot of money to improve own game and win more matches. So knowing how many sacrifices they have to make it is important to ask the question: Is being tennis player still just an activity or is it a real job?
There are different levels of performance as well as purposes why people get on the court. Some players want to play in Roland Garros in a few years so they want to do everything they can to achieve this dream. Other athletes love tennis and get on the court as often as possible to have fun time, hit some balls and stay in shape. There are also people who play from time to time and there is no any specific reason behind that – just another activity. In this article I would like to focus on competitive players who spend many hours a day on the court and who can’t imagine their future without tennis on the top level.
Every year hundreds of players fight for the same goal: they want to reach top 100 ranking, start earning serious money and compete for the most important trophies. Unfortunately only small percentage of players is able to reach this level and be happy at the end of their careers. Why does it happen? Where is the difference? Why some people get to the top while others give up tennis? Athletic career is not a linear process so there is no easy answer for these questions. Money, mental skills, support, genes and professional environment are common factors that many people tend to point out while talking about priorities to succeed. I agree that these areas are important but they are not decisive. There are thousands of players who have money, the best coaches, come from athletic family but at the end they are not able to achieve set goals. While searching for big secrets of success players forget that little details create the road for champions.
If you want to achieve your potential and get to the top of your abilities you have to remember:
Tennis is a job for you
In the future you want to earn millions of dollars, get Porsche for winning tournament and play in the most luxurious places in the world. Nobody will give you all these benefits for free. You have to earn it. If you practice hard for 3 hours a day and spend 1 intense hour in the gym you can be really tired. But ask yourself: are 4 hours a day going to be enough to become the next tennis star? I don’t think so. Successful people are workaholics and they spend many more hours than regular people. That is why they succeeded and others didn’t. Look at Steve Jobs. Check Cristiano Ronaldo story. All these icons knew that they are working much harder than others because it is their job. And they want to be the best at it.
Do something different, something extra
Many tennis players do the same. They practice on the court, stretch, build strength in the gym, use foam rollers and watch tennis matches. How do you want to be better than them if you do exactly the same things? I am not saying that you should give up on any of these activities but you have to add something extra. Regular mental visualization? I bet almost nobody do it on consistent basis. 2 books a month related to personal development in areas like dealing with emotions, controlling negative thoughts or understanding sleeping patterns? Show me any other crazy tennis player who does it! Be creative, do extra things and you will get huge advantage.
Fine line between being ordinary or being a champion
Competing in sport is not an easy task. Daily practice sessions, life in hotels and many sacrifices make this profession really challenging. I know that from time to time you will feel sad, angry, really tired and you will have doubts but remember that you got to the point where you can stay ordinary or become a champion. It is not a problem for most of the players to hit well during first 6 sets of exercise when body is pretty fresh. The difference is when the set number 12 comes in and your legs are heavy as stones. If you will go through it with solid quality you will build champion inside you. If you lose 6 matches in a row it is another situation when you step in front of the small line. You have a choice: give up and relax or to work even harder and believe in yourself. A lot of your friends will choose the first option because it is comfortable. If you want to be a tennis master you should go with the second one. Remember: the harder it is the bigger reward waits for you in the near future.
So are we clear? Tennis is a job. Period. If you want to be next world star you have to earn it. On the court and off the court. Make sure you walk your talk. No excuses. Go hard or go home!
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.