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Mentoring and its Tie to the Tennis Players Success

A coaches role is incredibly dynamic when held in the highest regard and mentoring is just one element that can be leveraged to help players/athletes excel at their performance. Unfortunately, this view is often lost over the years with the majority of coaches who succumb to a more standardised practice. And by standardised I am referring to disregarding their role model status and position as a mentor to their players and limiting their focus to the tennis courts and the respective instruction.

Whilst this is incredibly disheartening there are those coaches who go above and beyond and establish healthy mentoring relationships with their players/athletes to help guide them through The Long Game and/or are trusted sounding boards for troubles at school to uneasiness at home. Irrespective the scenario, a coach is in a unique position to help and by making themselves available — in a professional context, allows the oftentimes gap to be bridged if and/or when needed to ensure the players/athletes parents and/or guardians remain informed.

Oftentimes a child inside the developmental spectrum that is progressing along The Pathway may be having trouble managing their workload from their range of subjects to their training load. At some point, one begins to suffer until a healthy balance is found where the child/player/athlete eventually finds a manageable solution. But this is a simple example where a coach that is a trusted mentor can help.

After all, each session a coach has with their player/athlete they should be engaging with the player/athlete and if any concerns and/or anything out of the ordinary comes about, to take note.

If a player/athlete trusts you, the coach, with a concern and/or area they’re trying to navigate, it’s incredibly important to keep abreast of the issue and when necessary to leverage the coach-parent relationship to share these concerns as applicable. Oftentimes the coach can be the ‘middle person’ between the child/player/athlete and the parent/guardian to simply be a sounding board. However, to the coaches who do not take the time to make themselves available as a mentor to their players/athletes this can be at a detriment to their performance and also yours long term.

Of course, a coaches pedagogy and how this is shaped to influenced comes under the spotlight. With the right tools and proponents of best practice, mentoring is a part of your daily activities whether on or off the tennis court. But it takes time. It also takes patience and a heightened level of awareness to astuteness when dissecting what’s really behind what a player/athlete is sharing. It may be absolutely nothing — the case the majority of the time when they’re simply using you as the coach as that sounding board; nothing more, nothing less. But on the odd occasion it might be something else. And these occasions can make all the difference to that player/athlete when they know their coach is their to help.

Being a mentor may sound like a lot of work but in reality it’s nothing more than being available for those conversations and when needed, a little nudge in the right direction if they happen to be a little lost. No one is asking you to be anything more than a good human being with the best interests of your players/athletes front and centre each and every time they’re within earshot. And all it takes is making yourself available. The best part? Mentoring and its tie to the Tennis Players Success is undeniable which means if you’re putting in the work with a conducive coaching pedagogy then there’s a good chance your player/athlete will keep pace with The Long Game in the years ahead.

To learn more about Mentoring and its Tie to the Tennis Players Success, head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and head to Episode 39. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.

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What’s Your Purpose? Tennis Training with Intention

A question either asked or pondered by each and every one of us falls along the lines of “What’s Your Purpose?” to “What’s My Purpose?” and can be as deep as it sounds. From a philosophical  perspective this question can dive into various proponents of life and can take a person on quite an intrinsically explorative journey. But there’s one thing for sure — asking yourself this fundamental question can lead to a more fulfilling and gratifying experience once this purpose has been unwrapped. This isn’t to say a deep dive is necessary and/or pivotal — I’d argue that the more reflective a person is capable of being at any given time serves the wider purpose of their actions opposed to falling down the rabbit hole (metaphorically).

The role of ‘purpose’ in and of itself is often overlooked when it comes to the tennis player let alone asked and/or conditioned in the player/athlete. Whilst this may raise a few eyebrows the intent here is just that — guiding the player/athlete towards their purpose. In life, the purpose behind a players/athletes actions may vary to their actual behaviour in training. And that’s the point. A purpose is unique as it is to the person as it is to the environment. That is to say, there’s more than one and it can be contextual / environmental. However, the idea of conditioning ‘purpose’ is rather a thought-provoking exercise that can be adopted on the tennis court to foster a greater level of awareness in the tennis player to what’s behind their actual performance and with that, their greater purpose.

This can be broken down into a more refined question on any given occasion that prompts the player/athlete to ask themselves quite simply: “What is my intent?”

When a tennis player or any athlete for that matter begins training they should already heave devised an answer to this often misguided or even worse, ignored question. It is largely common practice for the player/athlete to not have an answer let alone be prompted for one before, during and/or after their training especially in the developmental range. Players who reside closer towards the higher echelon of the game — you bet they have an intention mapped out! But this is seldom the case for those yet to reach this peak, irrespective if they’re based at a local Club to Academy or inside the Top 700 in the world. Progress happens when a greater sense of responsibility is taken and with that, a level of accountability that feeds back to the overriding purpose.

To devise an intent, first look at your purpose. A purpose may be incredibly broad or refined, there is no right or wrong. An example may be “my purpose is to lead by example for my younger siblings to follow in my footsteps as I become the best tennis player I can”. Using this example, an intent would look like, for instance, “I want to improve how I use my body in my groundstrokes to flow through the shot more rapidly and yet fluidly”. A key performance metric when heading towards the Top 10, this intent has varied stages of progression but sets the stage for the intent behind a training session. 

By devising a purpose to intent, individuals to tennis players can better prepare themselves to achieve not merely their goals, but find a guide that they can refer to along the way that sets The Pathway for The Long Game whilst practicing with purpose and using their intent to develop optimal performance outcomes.

To learn more about What’s Your Purpose: Tennis Training with Intention, head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and scroll to Episode 29. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.