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When I coached the Robbinsville High School girls tennis team, their record increased from one win all season to seven wins. I was nominated for Coach of the Year and everyone asked me how I managed to accomplish this. It was really quite easy. You see, as a high school tennis coach, you only have about two weeks to conduct tryouts and prepare for your season, so it is difficult to physically make a difference in players’ games…I worked on the mental side. We focused on the process instead of the product.
Listed below are some of the team rules we had…
1. No homework during matches-on most of the teams that I have seen, the players that were awaiting their turn to play were either doing homework, listening to music, or eating. My rule was for my players to pick a teammate to cheer for and sometimes even chart errors and winners. When you are at a practice or match, you are not a brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc, for those couple hours, you are a teammate and you will energize those players that you are supporting. Focus on the task at hand, stay in the present.
2. Focus on your attitude and effort, not your strokes-A match is not the time to practice your form. Instead, you should focus giving all out effort and your strategy. If your strategy isn’t working, try another one. I always say, winning or losing, you should always strive for the highest energy level possible.
3. Thank the other team’s coaches and players after every match-It’s surprising to me how many teams don’t thank their opponents. Character is a big part of success…and it goes a long way, so make sure you show it.
Now I know that not all of you are high school tennis players, but I do know that you are part of a team. A work team, a family team, a relationship team, an orchestra team…these rules apply there too.
The best players help others to be best players.
Thank you to all that came out to the Independent Author event yesterday at the Princeton Public Library and…Thanks for reading.