Nerves vs Fear…

The tournament system in the US has to be used as a positive tool for our youngsters to develop throughout the difficult junior years. The fact that we have opportunities to battle almost every single weekend with peers of similar levels and ambitions should help us all develop the skills that we practice very hard each and every week.

When we have busy tournament months like the one that we are in, us coaches clearly notice the difference between the players who are nervous about the competitions ahead, and the players who are afraid of them.

Nerves are a completely natural thing that is experienced by every single player that has done well in their career including the very best in the world. We get nervous simply because we CARE, and this brings those feelings. The better players get as much if not more nervous than the average ones, but they literally USE their nerves to make them better, to fight harder, to pay more attention to their preparation, to maximize their efforts in practice, and to focus on creating a plan for their competitions. 

Fear is a very different animal, and it is the one that we all need to recognize and attack. A kid is a very vulnerable individual, and it is the role of the coach and the parent or team leader to constantly help them try to keep things in perspective. Players can be afraid of losing; they can be afraid of the car ride home; they can be afraid of their UTR or WTN taking a hit; they can be afraid of what their friends on social media might say if their results are not up to par with the expectations; they can be afraid of many things that at the end of the day DONT mean much in the overall picture, and it is important that the team around the player not only says the right things, but that it also acts the right way to help them understand that growth and learning are most important, and that in many cases in order to grow and learn in life,  we MUST fail!!!! As Pete Sampras said: “I hate losing, but I am not afraid of it”….. 

I wanted to let you know that our team has put an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to continue creating more of the right opportunities for our players to train and improve, and we will be sending everyone all the exciting plans that we have for the outdoor months (May through August). After a very difficult first year in which we faced many roadblocks to get settled as a “young” program, we now have secured training sites for the outdoor and indoor months that gives us the chance to set clearer goals about the direction and support that we would like to provide all of our students, coaches and families. I am SOOOOO excited!!!