Motivated to work
Tennis is a sport as any other; if you want to be the best, you have to spend hours on the court to have a chance to achieve your potential. As we all know, there is an unwritten rule that 10,000 quality hours or 10 years of practice will allow you to achieve professional level of performance. Looking at these numbers, it is clearly visible that the development process is a long journey that can’t guarantee anything. Every new activity is fun to work on because we want to be better so we have this inner power to push more and more. Unfortunately, we are challenged to face many days where all we want to do is something not related to our goals. As a tennis player, you probably know these days when 6 am running doesn’t look as comfortable as sleeping till 8 am. These and many more situations decide if one person will achieve the peak of his/her abilities or will stay on an average level.
Motivation is one of the mental skills that can set apart intermediate and professional players. Our reaction to bad days is responsible for our improvements and final results. Struggling with motivation is visible not only among tennis players but we can see also many examples in our every day’s lives. Do you know anyone who wants to give up smoking? Isn’t a problem with motivation? I can only imagine how people feel when they put cigarettes away but their success depends on motivation. Do they have a big picture in mind (living healthy life with more money saved on not smoking) while struggling or they let these small obstacles ruin everything and get back to addiction? What about people who fight with obesity? Does it sound like everything is about motivation? Again, being aware of the goals (losing weight and being healthy) can help while facing days when all we want to do is eating. Tennis players go through the same problems and they have to understand that every day’s obstacles accumulate into yearly wasted time and skills. Skipping necessary work can be dangerous if it is repeated constantly. Coach should explain to players (especially young ones) that they can’t move the clock back; all you can do is only right now. As a former professional player, I remember many positive and negative situations related to motivational skills. I can bring memories about practices at 5 am or long-distance runs on my own and I am 100% proud of my actions back then. On the other side, I regret many mornings where I lost the battle with the alarm clock or when I didn’t work as hard as I could on the tennis court. All these experiences have taught me many valuable things and I believe it is helping me right now as a human being and as a tennis coach. Players have to understand that if they don’t push themselves on a daily basis, they will be forced in the future to answer the hardest possible question: Where could I be right now if I could work harder in the past? Having regrets about the chances we have encountered is the worst feeling so find a way to motivate you. Back in my career as a player and now as a coach, I have many methods, which I am using to put my best effort no matter what. Let’s see what you can apply into your own life to make quality days.
My primary tool to stay motivated during the bad days is a music. All of us have favorite songs that make us eager to work and push more. Listening to the songs that you like can help you mentally “wake up” when you are tired and let you spend another day with quality. Music can be used before the work (to motivate yourself to start the action) or during the work (to motivate yourself to continue the action). Have you ever experienced difference between running/working out with and without a music? If yes, you know what I am talking about. Doing something while listening to the favorite songs makes the job easier and funnier. If you don’t have any songs that pump you up, try soundtrack of “Rocky” – it always work!
Setting goals is a first step for motivation but remembering them every day is what will keep us going on a daily basis. You should always have your goals written in your room so you constantly have access to this “influential power”. If you are a tennis player or tennis coach, it is also important that you don’t forget about your goals on the tennis court. What is the easiest way to do it? Tape piece of paper on the inside part of your racquet and let it help you during the practice. Every time while waiting for return or resting between the sets, consciously or not, you will notice the paper and it will keep you motivated. What should you write on the paper? It depends on you! It can be your performance goal, rank that you dream of or last name of the opponent who has beaten you badly.
YouTube is a great website where you can find everything: bad and good stuff. To find an extra power for the given action, you can motivate yourself by looking at motivational videos. Type this phrase into YouTube and you will find hundreds of short videos that will make you working right away. Videos can be related to the sport or can show achievements from the other fields too. 2 minutes video can motivate you more than private meeting with the best sport psychologist.
Achieving own potential in any field requires self-discipline and motivation. There is nobody, who has done anything spectacular, without working hard and sacrificing other things. Becoming a great tennis player is a long process that is as complex as learning to serve by the beginner. There are many factors that decide about the final result and motivation is one of them. Next time you will face a situation when you feel some lack of willingness to work, use proper tools to set the inner fire and get advantage over your opponents!