Academy Values – part 2
Academy Values – Grow through Tennis
It is fundamental that as the coaching team we are aware of the values that we want to demonstrate. This post is a second part of a 2 part blog post going through the values we stand for at Scarborough Tennis Academy.
These are values for our students to aspire to develop. So what we do is not just teach tennis (which we do) and how to win (which we do) but far more important than that. But growing through these values provides the foundation for a player to achieve much better results, especially over the long term.
As coaches we are the custodians of these values and therefore need to demonstrate it ourselves where and when possible. This part of the list is the more competitive side where a player moves from Hot Shots to a Junior Club program.
Take responsibility and practice being independent.
These two are together because they go hand in hand. No matter what happens on the tennis court a player needs to take responsibility for the result and their conduct.
- Forgot racquet or drink bottle?
- Lost to someone they should not have?
- Made a big mistake in training or on the court?
- Didn’t prepare well enough?
These all need to be solely the responsibility of the player. No excuses. Super important for Mum/Dad to support and be involved but be detached enough to let their child suffer from bouts of adversity. Parents naturally want to ‘make things better’ or ‘make things easier’ for their children but working through this is where true responsibility, independence and resilience can be developed.
We want our students to evolve and develop themselves personally. We want the confidence they get from tennis to help them at school or in other activities. By consistently working on their game, they will start to notice the improvement and feel proud of their efforts. We also know that there is a lot of adversity to overcome along the journey and that the most growth will come through overcoming the harder times.
Tennis provides opportunities for character building, leadership and many other skills which will help them in other areas of life.
To set and achieve goals.
Once tournaments and competition play start, we need them to be accountable to small incremental improvements. This could be to make 6/10 serves or to do 2 double faults or less in a match or a technical goal like stayed using the new grip they are learning for 10 of their 12 serves.
Ultimately you are training to improve and goals can help players to stay focused. Sometimes external goals such as rating or ranking can be inspirational for the right kid but process focused goals are great for all players.
Once players show consistent effort as well as progress their technical and tactical ability, they can also be role models to other players. They practice leadership by giving their all when they play and also encouraging and helping their peers through both their actions and their words.
Where sometimes players need to be challenged, they also need to have time to be the best in the group and be seen by everyone around them as a great player. This is where true leadership skills can unfold which will only help build another layer of confidence and mental strength in their mind.
A team can be a squad or group and is more evident when playing in a club pennant competition. Children need to be educated by the coach, coordinator and parents that the team is more important than the individual. We need to educate them to support and cheer and encourage their team mates and build a bond which helps all players feel comfortable to bring their best to the team.
By building their team spirit, this again elevates a bigger reason to try their best. When they are doing it for something bigger than just their own win/loss this can bring out the best in them.
In a close tennis match, it is made of moments. Momentum turns in a match can break some players but with a positive mindset and never give up attitude, players will be surprised how deep they can actually dig. This is primarily linked to effort but also being smart enough to try something different to find a way to win.
Fighting spirit means running out of hope but still trying to find a way to win the next point. It means running out of energy and finding a way to find new stores of energy you didn’t know you had. If you give everything you had then win or loss you will still feel proud of yourself.
When a player commits to ongoing improvement with tennis, this will positively affect their character and self – belief. It also teaches them that whatever they want to focus on, they need to be prepared to work at it, overcome the challenges and constantly find ways to improve. This is personal best.
Personal best is that player who does the warm up when no one is watching. That practices extra serves afterwards when no one asked. Its the player who does extra running, skipping, strength and conditioning, tennis analysis, meditation and is always the first one ready to play.
Personal best is also when the competitive club tennis player starts becoming a young athlete and recognises the dedication, professionalism and passion required to pursue greatness.