Success. There is not one proven formula to achieve own dreams. When we look at great tennis champions it is clear that there are different ways to get to the top. Your body, environment, family status and many more factors can have an influence on your career but they can’t have the final decision whether you are going to lift the trophy or not.
Roger Federer, John Isner and Diego Schwartzman. What does connect all these tennis players? They are top 50 in the world so we can definitely say that they are successful tennis players. But they are not similar in all aspects. Roger, John and Diego have different body types, individual playing styles, come from different cultures and are training in completely different environments. That’s the confirmation of words that „tennis is for everyone”.
Kids have dreams. They want to be the next Roger or Rafa. Then adolescence comes and dreams get away. Young athletes tend to think that to be the best in the world in the future they have to also be the best in the world right now. That’s really destructive mindset. Athletic career is a long-term process where many ups and downs come along the road. Athletes have to deal with victories, loses, expectations, media, coaches, spectators and … opinions. Unfortunately the last one is many times the first reason to give up own dreams and look for other options to live comfortable life.
- „You don’t have a chance to be a professional tennis player”
- „Without diploma you are nobody”
- „You are too slow to compete on high-level”
- „Professional tennis career is really expensive. There is no chance you are going to be able to pay for that”
- „Look at your technique. You started tennis too late”
- „You can’t succeed in your country. You have to go abroad”
Do you know these sentences? If you are an ambitious tennis player you probably listened to these „wisdoms” many times in your life. It doesn’t matter whether these words come from tennis expert or complete stranger they shouldn’t mean anything to you but I know that it is easier said than done. Human beings like approval and support so if you hear constantly how hard it is and how much you can lose you start to think about other options. That’s not the best option!
You decide about your career and life so don’t allow others who don’t know what you did and do every day to decide about your dreams. You have to move forward no matter what. What others say can’t have an impact on your actions. If you let others control your moves you will never achieve greatness. It is like with simple tennis strategy – control what you can (your actions) and don’t focus on things that you can’t control (others’ opinions).
Situations when you have to focus on your goals – not on others’ opinions:
- When your friends tell you that you don’t have a chance to become a professional tennis players
- When you hear from coaches that you are not skilled enough to compete on international level
- When you don’t get selected to national team
- When people point out your weaknesses
- When people say that it is impossible
- When people say that you are thinking this way because you are young
- When people ask you what you are going to do when you get seriously injured
- When friends drink alcohol and put pressure on you to join them
- When peers laugh at you because you eat healthy
- When other players laugh at you because you read books
These and many more situations happen every day to tennis players. These situations are not negative – only your reactions can be! Always keep in mind that your goal is the most important thing. You can’t take your eyes off your dream and focus on others’ opinions. They don’t know you at all so there is no reason to listen to people who create opinions based on lack of information and own failures. Take one step at a time, move forward and live the athletic life the way you want.
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 50 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.