US OPEN 2017 report – tennis job
Working with top juniors on a daily basis is a great experience. Being able to travel to different countries and observe various players is a possibility to compare approaches, training methods and individual preferences. But US OPEN is a different story. During tournament in New York I was able to compare juniors to top stars. And the differences are so visible…
We all know that tennis performance is not the same at junior and professional levels. Different demands, different goals and different time. It is smart to learn from players like Federer or Keys so juniors can quickly adjust their actions and get closer to their role models. Many young athletes are not aware what is expected from players who win Grand Slams so they do nothing to get skills that are necessary to achieve particular tasks. Being at US OPEN and seeing these details can open eyes and change player’s approach forever.
Why do junior players compete on the international level? There are several factors. Ranking points which give them opportunity to play in high-grade tournaments. Travelling opportunity to compete with different opponents and ability to visit many countries. Meeting international friends is also important for many juniors. And let’s not forget about fame. Young athletes know that the better they are on the court the most famous they can become so this factor is a motivational push for some group. What about professional players? Are they motivated by the same factors while being 25 years old? The reality is totally different.
Adult players have more experience and look at own career from different perspective. They treat tennis as their job. They are aware that the better they play the more money they receive. We know that only top players make really good amount of money so that is why all players who are outside of top 100 fight to climb the rank to make this effort pay back for them. Professional players understand that all their actions have impact on performance so there is no time to waste and their look for opportunities to get advantage over opponents on the court or in the gym.
So US OPEN is done but the lessons are present. My trip to New York was really successful because I saw many areas that my players should change to get to the top. Would you like to do the same with your athletes? Then think about these:
- One detail can change everythingProfessional players take care of all details. They understand that one little mistake can cost them thousands of dollars so they try to control everything they can. One thing that is not really visible on TV but was so surprising for me while watching matches in New York was frequency of using towel between the points. Rafael Nadal asks for towel after almost every point. This champion knows that sweaty hands can change his great forehand into mishit shot so he doesn’t allow that. Many juniors don’t use towel at all! It is worthy to learn from current No 1 and start taking care of little things that will help you to play your best tennis.
- No socializingJunior players love to spend time with friends on tennis courts. They talk, gossip and have fun between the matches. It is not happening among professional players. Tennis is a job so they want to be sure that they are focused on the task. Having too much fun before the match or not preparing for practice because of friends can cost you a lot so players like Nadal or Williams know why they come to tournament. Nobody says that you can’t talk to anyone but these meetings can’t ruin your daily schedule. You are a tennis player first so all your actions should be planned to make your athletic career successful.
Plenty of rest
There are younger and older players on the tour but all of them value resting time. Tennis is a gruelling sport when you travel and compete all year long. Planning to let your body and mind recover as much as possible is the only way to have long and fruitful career. During US OPEN 2017 I saw many professional players who come to the courts only to play practice session, do fitness workout and eat healthy meal. Immediately after these activities are done players headed back to their houses or hotels. Do juniors do the same? Some do but many spend the whole day on tournament’s courts. Do you want to win tournament? If yes you need to be in the top physical and mental shape. You put a lot of effort during matches and training sessions so use time between these workouts to have some rest.
Tennis is fun and it can be also at the top level but you can’t forget who you are. You are a tennis player and your goal is to make it your career. Your career is your job so make all your steps to make you closer to achieve your task. Top players made their mistakes in the past but you don’t have to repeat them. Learn from their current actions and your development will be much faster.