How many thousands of people around the world wake up early every morning, bright eyed, bushy tailed ready for what the day has to bring as they chase their dream? In the world of tennis, we are surrounded by inspired youngsters who dream of walking onto the freshly cut green grass of Wimbledon or the beautiful red clay of Roland Garros. They work for years and years making sacrifices that many could not even dream of. Leaving home at a young age, missing out on their friends 16th birthday party, their school prom, and making the decision to sleep 9 hours a night rather than spend countless hours playing Call of Duty. So what is the return on this investment, this large financial, emotional, and time investment that players and parents contribute from a young age?
A very select few receive a direct return on that investment when they achieve their ‘dreams’ of lifting that Wimbledon trophy or pulling on their National shirt while listening to the anthem belt out. So does that mean all the others are failures? Wasted time? Wasted money? Wasted emotion? No, it does not…far from it.
I am a massive believer that we get out what we put into this life, but we need to be a little smarter in where we search for the return on investment.
I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine that discussed the 15 ideal traits of a quality employee. When I first read it I thought they were writing about how to become a successful tennis player!
Here are a few examples that I felt were very relevant to the skills we pick up from our tennis careers through training, competition and the way in which the ‘lifestyle’ demands we manage our lives’:
Action Orientated – someone who takes action takes chances in this life. Ever gone for a big return on break point in a pressurised match? Ever made a big potentially ‘life-changing’ decision. Maybe making the decision to join the SotoTennis Academy! I promise it will change your life for the better! 🙂
Ambitious – isn’t this what we are as tennis players? The reason we get up and hit a fluffy yellow ball over the net day in day out?
Autonomous – arguably the biggest trait we need as a tennis player. Unique to tennis, we are not allowed to be ‘coached’ throughout our matches from a very early age. This creates independence in our character rather than in team sports we can get ‘carried’ along.
Leadership – from an early age we are our own boss. In tennis, players employ coaches and must take a leadership role in their own development. The individuality of the sport leads to great leadership qualities being learned through time.
Culture Fit- 99% of high-level tennis players have trained at an Academy/Club where they have to ‘fit’ into the way that Academy works. Yes, it is an individual sport, but our ability to work within a team environment is critical to the success of our career.
Attention to detail – from how we look after our equipment, to how we prepare for each shot, to how we ‘plan’ our trips (hotels, flights, pick-ups, etc.).
Hard Working – this is a must to get to any respectable level in the game of tennis.
Passion – you don’t play this sport to the level you do without passion! It is a must to keep that fire burning inside you that makes you get up and go again each morning or after every loss.
I urge everyone out there to continue throwing yourselves into what you are doing, into what you believe in. If you do that you will not fail… You cannot fail! You are acquiring so many skills along this journey that will not only set you up to be a better brother/sister, son/daughter, Daddy/Mummy, friend, but a better employee, and a person who will have many opportunities open for them through continuing their passion, hard work, ambition and driving it using their leadership skills with a great attention to detail.
The world is your oyster. The first step is to conquer the tennis world, next stop: you can use those acquired skills to attack anything you want too…I promise.
Control the Controllables
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain