As if competing in a tennis tournament weren’t tough enough, how does a junior player handle the added pressure of playing when he/she knows a college coach is watching?
Now that my son is finishing his sophomore year of high school, he’s going to be facing these situations the remainder of his junior tennis career. Even if the coach is there to watch his opponent and not necessarily him, my son still needs to be prepared to handle that extra piece of the puzzle. In hopes of giving him the tools he needs, I spoke with Ross Greenstein of Scholarship for Athletes and asked him to share his wisdom and knowledge about what coaches look for out there. I also spoke with University of Maryland Baltimore County Head Tennis Coach, Rob More >
After playing 3 tough tournaments over the past 5 weekends – with 4 back-to-back tourneys looming ahead on the schedule – my son got sick. Nothing serious, mind you, but just the kind of exhaustion-inspired viral junk that makes you feel like garbage. It came on slowly at first but then hit like gangbusters the day before we were supposed to leave for the ITF event in South Carolina. He begged me to call the doctor for an antibiotic in hopes that he could feel good enough by the next day to go to the ITF and perform well. I urged him to super-hydrate, eat well, and visit the chiropractor in a last-ditch, non-antibiotic, effort to get him feeling better. He skipped the meds, took my suggestions, but was still feeling lousy the next More >
The passages below are excerpts from a rather lengthy email I received this morning from sports psychologist, Dr. Jorge Valverde. I am reprinting them with his permission.
Our responsibility as parents is like a mountain: the bigger the mountain to climb, the stronger we must become, and our strength must come from wisdom and inspiration.
Dealing with discipline issues- Establish boundaries and natural consequences and follow them closely - Present one front as parents, avoiding the bad/good cop paradigm - Change behaviors and attitudes with extended metaphors/stories - Spend quality time with each child separate and together - Avoid comparison between your children - Acknowledge their good More >
A big thank-you to my amazing yoga instructor, Lisa Jones, for the quote above.
Sometimes I get a major wake-up call which catches me totally off guard. This weekend’s tournament was one of those.
The week leading up to the tournament was a rough one for my son. He came down with a cold/sinus infection on Monday and immediately started taking a antibiotic in hopes that he would feel significantly better by the Saturday start day. All week, he shortened his practices, even resorting to hitting with only me one of the days, trying to conserve his energy. I begged him to drink Emergen-C – my go-to when I start feeling a cold coming on. He drank one, maybe two, all week. I begged him to drink protein shakes at the end of each day. He More >
The word PUSHER is often uttered with disdain and a snarl among junior tennis players. It is the supreme insult to hurl at another player, as in, “I can’t believe I lost to a pusher! I must totally stink at tennis!”
But, really, what is a pusher? And is it such a bad thing to be called one?
According to coach Don Petrine, pushing is a style that one encounters in developmental tennis (and perhaps senior and club tennis). “A pusher uses all your pace on the ball, never generating their own pace, parasitic in nature, and uses it against you. A pusher never tries to end the point with an offensive shot; they just use your pace and hit high percentage shots until you hang yourself, go insane, or make an unforced error. They are usually More >
Our state qualifier for the Southern Closed was this past week. For the first time ever, my son knew when he applied for entry to the tournament that he would get in – he had worked hard all year to move his state ranking into a proper position. Now the challenge was getting far enough in the Qualifier to secure a spot in the Closed.
The Tennis Gods smiled upon him with his draw, but it was still up to him to capitalize on some great opportunities to get to the Round of 16 (or further) and get that guaranteed entry into the sectional tourney. It was going to be a challenge, for sure. His track record with “gifts” in the draw wasn’t all that great – in the past, he had often lost to players with much lower rankings than his own, so he More >
I know I’ve written a lot lately about high school and college tennis, but it’s just where I am right now, so please indulge me one more time!
I watched this past weekend’s Davis Cup matches with great interest, not only because my childhood friend’s son was playing for the US but also because our #1 singles player, John Isner, was a 4-year member of the University of Georgia men’s tennis team (Go Dawgs!).
As I watched World #11 Isner play against World #6 Jo Wilfred Tsonga, in what turned out to be the clinching match, I couldn’t help but wonder how Isner’s experience at UGA shaped his ability to close out such a decisive match on More >
My son to his high school tennis coach (after not being in the lineup for 3 consecutive matches): “Coach, when you put me in the lineup last week, did I do what you asked and expected of me?” Coach’s response: “Yep.” Son’s next question: “What do I need to do for you to put me in the lineup again?”
That conversation happened about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Since then, my son has been in the lineup for each subsequent match. What changed? The same 13 boys are still on the team. They all show up for practices and matches. So, why has my son had the opportunity to play these last few matches?
When my son met with his coach, the coach thanked him for taking the time to talk then told him what to do to get back into the starting lineup. My More >
Parents and coaches, please watch this short clip from Dr. Jim Loehr on the importance of sportsmanship.
Dr. Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist, CEO of the Human Performance Institute, and author of 15 books including his most recent, The Power of Story.
Jim Loehr’s contention is that managing energy, not time, is the key to sustained high performance. At the core of Dr. Loehr’s training system is the understanding that the stories we tell ourselves represent the single most powerful tool we have for managing energy and achieving any important mission in life. The right stories mobilize us to make tough values-based choices that lead to expanded growth and the wrong stories disengage us.
Dr. Loehr possesses a masters and More >
When I first decided to write this blog, I made a promise to myself that I would steer clear of self-congratulatory pieces praising my kids (and myself) for their accomplishments. However, today I’m giving myself a “pass,” so please bear with me!
The path to success is usually pretty twisty and hilly – there are good days and not-so-good days, days where you’re on top of the world and feel indestructible and days where nothing goes your way. When your kid is on that path, and you’re just the observer and facilitator, it’s a tough place to be. You have to watch as your child struggles with failure, struggles with losses, struggles with injuries, struggles with self-doubt – all the while, continuing to love them and encourage them toward More >