There is so much that I could say about this article! Working with the young tennis athletes on their Strength and Conditioning presents many opportunities for these athletes to face both victory (overcoming physical discomfort and reaching new levels of fitness) AND defeat (unable to complete a physical challenge or task). Through these trials, I constantly remind these young athletes that their ‘defeat’ by being unable to complete a physical challenge is all part of the process, and is temporary as we push through these physical plateaus onto a new level of fitness. I am convinced and have experienced it many, many times, that overcoming the physical discomfort of training helps the athlete learn how to handle defeat and to build mental toughness that will transcend the gym and help them on the court and in life!
As a child athlete myself (I started playing Little League baseball at 6 years old and later went on to All-City High School honors, MVP awards and the opportunity to play professionally), I faced defeat or disappointment in the outcomes many, many times. Yet, through it all, the things that I remember most are how my coaches and the adults around me handled MY failures. The coaches that helped me celebrate my wins, but more importantly work through my defeats in a positive and healthy way, were the ones who left me stronger, more resolute and unafraid to continue to challenge myself. Not being afraid of losing is perhaps one of the most important lessons we can teach our young athletes through competition.
I invite you to read this article and pay particular attention to its “3 Magical Questions” that turn losing into learning!http://changingthegameproject.com/3-questions-that-turn-losing-into-learning/
LaRue Cook, Certified Tennis Performance and Strength & Conditioning Trainer