With his permission, below is a reprint of a recent article written by professional tennis coach and mindset expert, David Sammel. We will be reprinting additional articles from David over the coming months. Please be sure to visit his website, Mindset College, for more information on David and his offerings. You can also download David’s FREE 4-Step Reset Guide at https://www.mindsetcollege.co.uk/the-4-step-reset.
Do you know what’s one of the most common questions I field from parents of tennis players?
“How can I keep my kid’s attention on tennis with all these modern distractions?”
It’s an important question.
And one that transcends the sport.
But why is the question so common?
Well, it’s because it seems to be an ever-increasing occurrence for you to find your child with their eyes fixated on their phone or their tablet.
Instead of bouncing off the walls with youthful exuberance like you expect them to be.
And it doesn’t matter whether they’re battling mythical creatures in a video game or laughing to themselves at the latest online sensation.
They are going to be entirely absorbed in it.
Now, imagine that laser-sharp focus, that unwavering attention, could be redirected towards something more productive.
Something like their tennis.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Perhaps it does, because it’s easy to feel defeated in the age of technology.
The immediate gratification, the dopamine hits, the constant novelty – how could the hard work and repetition of tennis possibly compete?
Especially since many of us from the older generations believe that it was so different when we were young.
A time in which distractions weren’t constantly vying for our attention.
And we think that it couldn’t possibly have been as challenging for our parents to help us focus on productive things.
But let’s remove those rose-tinted glasses for a moment.
The face of distraction may have evolved over the years, but the thing itself is timeless.
From television, to trading playing cards and gameboys, to the addictive Snake II on the Nokia 3310 and now to the vast world of smartphones and social media – children have always found ways to drift off course.
So let’s abandon this notion that distractions are worse now than ever.
That’s a bad way to look at the situation.
So how should we look at it?
And how could we possibly transform tennis from a chore to an all-engrossing, enthralling activity?
The secret lies in painting an exciting narrative around tennis.
Something like a Tennis Disneyland.
Because I guarantee if your kid is at Disneyland, they’ll be able to focus on something they find interesting outside their digital world for hours on end.
And a Tennis Disneyland is precisely what you as a parent need to craft for your child’s tennis.
Something exciting and interesting for them to give their focus to.
But how does one create this captivating Tennis Disneyland?
With two steps.
1) Set a short-term outcome-based goal (1-3 months) that excites them
2) Reverse engineer what it will take to achieve that goal and lay it all out in front of them.
They now have a very clear understanding of what their objective is, and what they need to do in order to get there.
Now, each tennis session is no longer just practice; it’s an exciting chapter on the road to reaching their goal.
And when they do start to drift from the target (which they will), all you’ll need to do is remind them of the goal and the plan.
Rinse and repeat.