November 11, 2009

Eliminate Excuses

A man may fall several times, but he is not a failure until he starts saying that someone pushed him.

Tennis is a difficult game to play. It is even more difficult to play well, and it is one of the hardest games to learn to win. But the biggest frustration that I have as a coach is not that the physical and mental aspects of the game are so difficult to learn, but that it is so difficult for the players to take responsibility for their own play. It seems that usually the better the player; the more sophisticated is his excuse for coming up short in a match.

Name it, tame it, but don't blame it.

If something is bothering you, don't take the court.

Sigmund Freud stated that sometimes a failure situation is so painful for a person that he may need a defense mechanism in order to preserve self-esteem. Unfortunately, though, a defense mechanism can seriously hinder an athlete's growth because it keeps him from working to improve his skill level. I tell my players that once they take the court, there is no reason for a loss other than, "He played better than I did." That's all there is to say.

A player should be humble in victory and give full credit to his opponent in defeat, no matter how tough it may be.

When the athlete decides what he really desires with all his heart and the price that he is willing to pay for it, he stops worrying about the small pains, those things that the opponent does, and any other stumbling blocks, and he focuses on the job at hand. -Vince Lombardi

For the Tennis Player Who Runs Out of Excuses:
1. Ate too much lunch.
2. Did not eat enough.
3. Favorite racquet broke.
4. Balls too heavy.
5. Net was too high.
6. These strings just don't give me the power I need.
7. How can I be expected to play my best on these courts?
8. This injury keeps me from playing well.
9. I just couldn't get into it today.
10. Tournament director didn't seed me.
11. The racquet slipped in my hand.
12. I didn't realize opponent was left-handed until the next-to-the-last game.
13. Opponent didn't play tennis, just hit the ball back.
14. Opponent was so bad I couldn't play my game.

No comments: