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 TikTok, Twitter, Threads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.