You play tennis. Maybe you take some lessons, hit a couple of times a week and play the odd tournament, or perhaps many tournaments. Are you satisfied with your progress?
As with any undertaking, preparation and purpose influence results.
Natural talent or athletic ability will only take you so far. Characteristics of a winning tennis player include being a hard worker, clear thinker, tenacious, determined, deliberate, open minded and eager to meet challenges.
Your very first challenge is to look at your game honestly. If you find yourself making excuses for losing matches you are already losing ground. Analyse your matches. Look at your losing matches to find areas you can improve. Listen with an open mind to people who watched your match, sometimes their opinions will have merit. Often you will not like what you hear but if it’s true you need to deal with it. Common comments might be – “you played a lot of out balls….he really worked your backhand… you came in to the net on anything instead of waiting….you lost track of the score…you gave up too easily…you made too many unforced errors.” All of these comments are valid and if you don’t take care of the problems they are illuminating you won’t improve your results. To maintain confidence also look at your strengths you used during the match.
Be honest about your work ethic. It’s not just the number of hours you spend on the court, it’s also how you are spending your time on the court. If your practice hours look more like social sessions you aren’t being fair to yourself or the other players on the court. Every time you hit a tennis ball you should have some purpose. Purpose will influence what shot you play and how you play it. If you don’t have purpose on every shot your play becomes random and possibly reckless. Sounds like hard work doesn’t it? Well, it is but the satisfaction you experience when you begin to see that you are constructing points, executing your plan and dictating play transcends “fun”.