What? I lost again. I have the best coach, I serve hundreds of balls, hit with my partner, practice my strategy. How come I lost again?
I am talking about tennis. But it could be any sport. Or anything? What keeps any of us from walking away with the trophy? Could it be a head trip? What are you thinking when you hit that ball? The difference between a good player and a great player has to be mental. It makes sense. You beat all the club players, but when you play in those tournaments, it all goes downhill.
And the higher you reach, the more you need mental stamina. You might have a tough exterior, but what about your interior? Your inner workings need toughness. Even if you are a Roger Federer, or a Rafael Nadal., or a Tiger Woods. How do they stay at the top? Physically … mentally. You need confidence, persistence, tenacity and most of all, focus.
I met Jane, a terrific tennis player, in interior design school so many years ago that I’m not saying. We traveled NYC together, studied together, built projects together. And in the summer, we hit the ball. I had just started playing and loved it. Jane asked if I’d like to learn. She had just passed a rigorous exam by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). I gawked at her, my jaw
dropped, and asked, “You teach tennis?”
Long story short, I practiced, practiced and practiced. Then I took that same USPTA exam and passed. Became pretty proficient, but I never could beat Jane. Even though she said, “What’s the matter with you? You’re now a better player than me.” She was my teacher, my coach, my playing partner, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t beat her. I never did. Head trip. And … I taught tennis for years before I was consumed by my career in interior design.
There are mental training specialists, not psychologists or psychiatrists. In my tennis organization there are those for just this purpose. Mental training is a critical part of success.
Take a look: Damien LaFont, PhD, Certified Mental Trainer www.mentaltraininginc.com.
Anyone following Juan Martín del Potro? He did great this tournament. He climbed almost to the top at Indian Wells, lost in the finals to Nadal, a tough competitor.
How many of you know that Doubt Monster? Do you believe you have more tenacity than it? Can you turn your passion into progress?