Why Junior Tennis Players Keep Failing
#1 Question Junior Tennis Players Ask about Losing…….
One of the biggest questions I hear from junior tennis players who have not had mental training is, “why is my training and hard work not transferring into more wins?” At a time when college tuition is going up annually and tennis scholarships are becoming harder to come by, many players are feeling more and more pressure on whether or not they have what it takes to earn a scholarship to a university. This built up tension and worry often seen carries over to their performance on and off the court and in many cases changes their mentality and their enjoyment for the sport. To players and parents, thoughts about winning become more and more apparent and losing becomes defined as a representation of failure. Bruce Lee said it best when asked about failure. “Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” One of the essential lessons that every tennis player learns at SPMI is that there are only 2 outcomes to competing; winning and learning. The learning experience (a.k.a. Losing) is where tennis players improve the most. It is when their newly learned approach to failure is fully accepted. The mistake that most tennis players make is that when they fail they quickly try to forget every detail about the match; therefore, never discovering the hidden factors that will ultimately lead them to their desired destination.
A short success story on learning from failure…..
I have been fortunate enough to have worked with athletes from over 20 different sports and all levels. This story is about a world class martial artist whom I started working with early last year. Last year, one of my athletes, who competes internationally in martial arts faced a competitor who was ranked top 10 in the world. Needless to say, he did not achieve the result he wanted. In fact, he lost badly. However, at the end of the fight he approached the competitor calmly and asked him if he could tell him what he needed to work on and what he saw in him that was a weakness. A little less than 6 months later he had the opportunity to compete against the same fighter again. Not only did he win but his competitor barely scored against him! I later asked my athlete, “Would you have figured out what you needed to work on had you not have asked your competitor how you can be better?” His answer was, “No way! I would’ve assumed it was something completely different.” For this SPMI athlete, he learned one of the most important lessons that many athletes still do not embrace. Losing is a learning experience for those who strive for the bigger picture. Praising tennis players for their positives even after bad losses will not only help them to focus less on failure but more importantly help protect their confidence.
How does this apply to tennis…..?
At the junior level in USTA and ITF, one of the biggest pressures that many players are faced with is how fast they can improve their ranking to have the best chance at getting a college scholarship to the university of their desire. Although, this goal is very important and in most cases essential to achieving their goal. It is not possible without developing the right mentality to get them there. When players have not learned the right mindset along with a structured mental routine and professional mental skills they often get into a losing streak that has a heavy impact on their confidence. This is one of the major reasons why I pursued the sport psychology field and started working with athletes of all sports including tennis. Starting the game very late at the age of 13, I remember feeling this overwhelming urgency to play catch up with players who have had hundreds of more matches, private lessons, and years of experiences than me. In addition, I remember playing tennis in high school and for a top DII national program (Barry University) and not understanding how to direct my focus and calm my nerves before and during matches. This helpless, out of body experience, is something that few coaches understand how to improve and something that I made a mission out of SPMI to help players overcome. Overall, the process of playing tennis should be enjoyed, even though their is a lot of handwork and sacrifice that comes with it.
How to get started…….
For players who are serious about improving their mental game and learning essential skills that they will be able to use for their entire tennis career, I encourage them to contact SPMI for a trial session. This session is an actual session where players can learn real skills and see if SPMI is right for them. The session is charged only if the player enrolls to the starter package program after the session is over.
What if I live outside of South Florida……?
Over 50% of tennis players who work with SPMI live outside of South Florida. They train their mental game through the Online Mental Training Program. This program consists of LIVE 1-on-1 mental training where tennis players learn real skills and develop customized routines for their game to help enhance all areas. In addition, players will receive skills that are based on sport psychology research and sport science. Not skills that are applied based on a few successful results from other athletes.
97% Success Rate…...
SPMI's Mental Training Program for tennis players has over a 97% success rate. Players receive comprehensive pre- and post- evaluations, learn real skills, discover underlying factors that effect their performance, and receive customized routines and mental toughness training schedules for how to apply what they learn to help make their mental game automatic and natural.