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Process Based vs Results Based Tennis Players

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Today’s Guest Post is by coach Todd Widom.

If you have read some of my previous articles, I speak about how tennis is a never ending pursuit in trying to become the best you can be day in and day out. The best tennis players I have ever been around go through this process in a disciplined manner each and every day they step on the court. To go one-step further, there are players that are process based and there are others that are results based during the development phase of tennis.

Everyone loves a winner. In order to consistently win at tennis, you have to continually improve, or else your competitors will leave you behind in the dust. As parents who dedicate so much effort, hours, and money to their child’s tennis career, it is natural for the player and parents to be results based. For example, a parent might think if their child has a good ranking and frequently wins, then they are doing very well. But, if they do not have the great ranking and they are not winning a lot, their child is performing on a subpar basis. Obviously you need results to get into the college you would like or play on the professional tour. Realistically speaking, needing to have these types of results should come in the latter stages of the player’s junior tennis career. I see all too often players, coaches and parents becoming too results based when the player is at the younger end of the spectrum that it hampers the player in the latter stages of their junior career, which is where it matters most for their college placement and potentially into professional tennis. I am specifically speaking about the 12’s and 14’s superstar that hits a wall and is in trouble in terms of their development all because many strategic training and developmental missteps were taken with the particular player’s development. I will go into further detail about this most important subject in future articles.

The best and most efficient tennis players I have been around are process based. Their coach and parents are well informed that this is a long process, and that there are going to be many stages that the player must go through to become a great player and achieve their goals. The results will come if the player has done proper tennis training, mental training, and physical training. The results are a by-product of doing these aspects of training properly.

The results based coach, parent, and player will plateau at some point in their tennis development. If results are solely what you are after, the learning and development will come to an end because the student is stuck in the same habits, which are very difficult to break in the latter stages of their junior career. Many coaches can sense when they have a results based student, but I believe it is their job to explain what it is going to take for this particular player to progress to the future stages of their tennis career. It could be a tricky situation because the coach could lose a student by trying to break some habits, and as a result, the student could suffer some loses through this process. This now all depends on whether the parent and student can handle taking a step backwards in order to be able to take multiple steps forwards and for the player to thrive.

In conclusion, you need to know why you play this great game. Is it all about winning or losing, or is it about learning and trying to achieve your goals through hard work and persistence? Keep in mind that results may not be coming to you within your desired time frame. Each and every student matures and learns at a different rate. It is a long process, but learning how to excel at different aspects of the game and to go about learning the right way about tennis, will get you where you would like to be. Remember that the results are a by-product of the constant pursuit to going about the process either properly or improperly.


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