How to Instill Character in a Young Tennis Player


Skill and talent are the primary ingredients required for an athlete to prolifically outshine and succeed at the top level, in our basic understanding of sports. The better you are at playing a particular game, the likely you are to succeed. However, in order to be professionally competitive, skillset is not the only area where an athlete should channel his or her most focus on. Especially in tennis, it is certainly not about how quick you are with your feet, how smartly you can play attacking and counter shots and stay firm in defending your scoring run. Normally an athlete would spend countless monotonous hours of training and learning different manoeuvers with their coach. They would invest in the highest quality of sports equipment to keep them going. But if they are not doing much about their mental strength and individual personality which mostly overlaps with their effectiveness in playing the game, they are not doing the real job.

It is crucial for young players to develop a bit of character when they reach a top level. Not just in tennis but in different other sports, prolific young players tend to lead themselves astray of the right path and indulge in a myriad of distractions which ultimately effects their game. The lifestyle is fancy and there are parties to attend every second day of the week. However, performing at the highest level requires them to get a hold on themselves, work on their mental strength and ability to stand out as an individual on the field especially when there is crumbling pressure.

The basic characteristics of a young tennis player should strive for is self-motivation, anger management, composure, patient and tolerance in the face of media, emotional intelligence, game intelligence, and wit. These are the cognitive abilities which separate quality players from the rest. There is a fine recipe to learn as you grow in your professional career. Here is what professionals like Roger Federer, Juan Martín del Potro, Victoria Azarenka, Justine Henin Hardenne, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, etc. do:

Learn from the best examples

Having a mentor is an integral part of one’s career. The legends of the game offer a replete example in many aspects for all amateurs and young professionals to follow. The likes of George R. MacCall is a vibrant example, who delved into the sports at an early age of 10. He bought his first tennis shoes for 99 cents. George is considered to be one of the greatest of all time and someone who brought tennis to the mainstream spectrum. He Captained the United States Davis Cup team from 1965 to 1967 and also co-founded World Team Tennis. George also played an integral part in forming the NTL (National Tennis League) in the year 1967. He became the first Commissioner of World Team Tennis in 1974 and was inducted to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. Learning about his life and professional career is a great source of inspiration for young players.

Incorporating discipline in the lifestyle

Discipline is important to work on. Having the discipline to stay fit, actively train and negate indulgences is what true discipline allows you. Discipline is a commitment which pushes you beyond the boundaries and is an important feature to have in your professional character. All the legendary players and professional coaches strive for young players to work on their discipline as it is what drives them to success.