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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Dealing with bad attitudes

From: Brad Melville <>
Date: Fri 20 Apr 2001 13:00:32 +1000

<x-charset iso-8859-1>Randal,

I have coached for over 18 years and have played junior tennis, US college
tennis and a brief stint on the circiut and only know too well your problem.
It would be a shame to throw away all your hard work with these juniors.
The thing is this, and this is coming from someone that wishes that I knew
what I know back as a junior:
    1 Peer Pressure: As a junior you get to a certain level where you
friends and competitors expect you to win against certain people. That's
why if you lose to a better player there is less fear; therefore by losing
to an equal or lesser player you think you lessen yourself in their eyes.
    2 Coach and Parent Pressure: I remember I would always look up to my
coach or parents when I made a mistake to see their reaction. This was
sometimes out of fear or wanting not to dissappoint them.
    3 Person Goals: This says it all. To be the best.
    4 Rankings: They mean so much to players for the above reasons.

Now I look back and wish that if I could have looked ahead and saw where I
wanted my game to be when I was 16-18-20, I would have changed my mentallity
about my approach to the game. I could only see the next match or
tournaments in front of me so I had pressure to perform now.

The hardest thing these days is to get your players to play the way they
should play, their game, but the pressure changes this and you get them
crumbling, either with anger or chocking or whatever. With set goals which
are arrived at by you and the player, which have to be achievable and
believable to both of you, especially the player, the player can sometimes
see past a loss and find a positive from it. Obviously this means a lot of
support from you the coach, to change how they think.

An example may be Jim Courier's style of play back in 1986-90. When he
played in 1988 he looked as though he just went for everything and it was
working. But this only came after he looked at his goals and said, I don't
care what happens, I'm going to play this style of game, win or lose.

If I could have done this and worried a little less about some result my
game would have gone a lot further, but I would have been more mentally
capable of handling pressure situation.

Sorry this is so long, but if you want to talk more E-me.

Brad Melville

Received on Thu Apr 19 2001 - 23:10:48 CDT

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