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OTHER ITA SITES:
Can You Build a Wimbledon Tennis Champion?
I have had quite a few comments (mainly congratulations) about the photos of Mike and the trophy he got for winning the ITF junior event in Spain a couple of weeks ago. And the number 1 question and comment is whether I could put my finger on any “secret” to this success?
Did I build a tennis champion?
Well, first off let me say that he is not there yet and has a long way to go – we are not talking about Pete Sampras (a model we used), Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal at the moment, but having said that his development has been great.
Now I know exactly where everybody is coming from with their questions. They are really asking “is there anything that you did with Mike that could help me?”
Well I am all for following the trails of success so I put my thinking hat on.
In terms of “the secret”, if I had to single out anything in particular it would be his ability to play good matches that was a big factor.
Since I saw and started working with him at the age of 6 or 7 when he stood out (along with several other kids I might add) as being a good striker of the tennis ball, we started working on (at a low level because of his age) simple strategies that were designed to cause his opponents problems.
Simple things like identifying spaces on the court and hitting the ball to those spaces were fundamental building blocks for him at 8 years old.
Obviously this is only one example but whatever we did had one overall aim – to take whoever he was playing OUT of their comfort zone.
Because let’s face it if you are given a chance to play a match playing on your terms/in your comfort zone, hitting the shots you want to, when you want to hit them you must rate your chances of winning that match as AT LEAST pretty good.
So we worked on trying (as much as possible) to get Mike into this position whilst getting his opponents not hitting their favorite shots etc. (out of their comfort zone), because the bottom line is this - If he was able to do this, his chances of winning were INCREASED!
Or put another way, if his opponent was taken out of their comfort zone, their chances of winning was REDUCED!
Back to the title of this piece.
Well, I don’t have some laboratory somewhere with spare arms and legs lying around waiting to be attached in a Frankenstein styled attempt to build tennis players (now there’s a thought!!), but the one thing that was a conscious action was to implant the basic matchplay strategies that would hopefully allow him to win matches when all else was equal (shots etc).
At the end of the day, tennis is a win or lose sport. There are no draws.
To go far and even win your Club Championships – you have to win tennis matches!
To become recognized and perceived as a better tennis player you have to win more tennis matches, it’s as simple as that.
So if there is one thing to look at and take away from what was a story about one boys ITF triumph in a foreign country it would be this – Learn more about the process behind winning tennis matches!
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Travel Part B