What motivates us to play tennis ? Is it a fight with our inner demons to win at a sport that is quite simply a mind battle as well as a physical one ? Is it a personal quest in a one on one sport because we simply aren't a team player ? Is it because we simply want to test ourselves to the maximum and with a good result comes the satisfaction of being a winner where we don't have anyone else to blame if we lose ? Risky sport tennis. If we played a team sport we have our team mates to help share the blame if we lose, tennis doesn't afford us that luxury.
Personally i like to prove people wrong who knock me for still having a go against the youth of the game , it quite frankly inspires me to achieve. A while ago i read something negative about myself that i used to motivate me in both my coaching and playing. I began riding up hills on a daily basis , got the legs strong , lost a few kilos , went from 79 kg to 74, made some room , started thinking more when i played and also when i coached. I read that comment on a daily basis to motivate myself to get better , it's worked. I need to send that person a thank you at some stage for helping me to get fired up .
Tennis is like that , a sport that unless you get some fire in the belly you just may lack the necessities to get you over the line . I read somewhere that the great Jimmy Connors made a point of 'hating his opponents'. Now this is taking things to the extreme but hey it worked for Jimbo as he still holds the record for the most ever pro tournament victories.
Motivation for winning at the game of tennis can come from many avenues but personally i use two main things to get myself in the right frame of mind. Credibility; Now this is a big thing for a coach of the game and as i have mentioned before , some coaches are happy to simply 'talk the talk' . Personally if i am fit enough which i now believe i am then just teaching someone how to play is not enough to satisfy me , i make an effort to also show them. I love the opportunity to 'walk the walk', especially against the young blokes as it's a way to gain respect , you can't beat that .
There's an old adage in tennis that i love to follow ; It's not how good you were , it's how good you can still become. I love this one as it is where i stand with my own ability. Sure i need to get fitter but i am working on that because i am not just someone who is happy to talk about the game , i love the challenge , physically and mentally.
Find what gets you enough inner strength to play the game and run with it . I'm just on the lookout for that next negative comment regarding my 'old legs'........