October 21st, 2015. Today. Unless you went through this day without switching on the television or browsing a social media site you will all know that this is the day that Marty Mcfly and Doc Brown took a little look into the future in ‘Back to the Future’. This got me thinking…
If we could take a little look into the future or even ‘go back in time’ to ‘talk to our younger self’. How could this benefit our tennis journey?
I know there have been a couple of excellent blogs around this on Pete Sampras and Greg Norman who have written a letter to their younger self. I liked the insight in these blogs, but something was missing for me in terms of it being ‘tangible’ for a young aspiring player. Sampras and Norman are almost superhuman in their achievements, so I thought it would be cool to speak to players who we can associate with a little more and those who are still very much in the early stages of their tennis journey, so I spoke to a group of players here in Greece at the ITF Pro Circuit events and asked them
If you had 2 minutes with your ‘younger self’ aged 14 what piece of advice would you give ‘you’ with regards to your ‘Tennis Journey’?
Some of the answers I received:-
‘Learn from every match’
‘Wish I had worked harder in EVERY session’
‘Results don’t matter- developing your game does’
‘Don’t worry about other players results’
‘Make sure you have a consistent and level mind’
‘Take care of the small professional areas… The details’
‘Back yourself in the big moments in matches’
‘Take on board what coaches say 100%’
‘Watch lots of tennis so you can learn’
‘Spend time building other interests away from tennis’
‘Spend more time enjoying other players company rather than keep self to self’
I am sure you would agree some really nice pieces of advice. No mention of technique, of tactics or even physical side of the game. The feedback was overwhelmingly aimed towards the mental aspect of the sport and more than that the areas that are IN YOUR CONTROL.
The most interesting part of this little experiment was that ALL players talked about the same things, so from this, we can derive that these areas must be pretty important when it comes to developing as a tennis player (and as a person).
So there we have it…from the words of the professionals. I have been through my tennis playing career and am 10+ years into my coaching career and I believe the players here in Greece have pretty much hit the nail on the head with regards to the advice.
Take care of all those things in your control, plan well and commit to this process with a smile on your face and you won’t go far wrong!
Over to you guys as players (young and old) to make the decision to act on this advice now…someone out there will.
Control the Controllables.
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain