Note to self... Remember tennis makes you happy

Our player Tebatso sharing her thoughts on motivation

It’s midday probably approximately 12:45, I know this because my main course (that’s right we get three-course meals) has arrived promptly. Every day is the same:

  • 6:00 wake up

  • 6:00-6:15 depending on how I feel I…. read, listen to music, watch ted x, pray, write or just lie and bed and scan my body for the aches that never fully recover as a full-time athlete.

  • 6:15-6:30 Jump rope followed by a bowl of muesli

  • 6:30ish Shower

  • 7:15ish Sandwich and coffee

  • 7:40 After watching BBC world news or cartoons I leave for the club

This is just a glimpse to show how routine my days are. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate routines and the training we do… but they start to feel mundane, tedious and even mind-numbing.  And that’s why I find myself apathetically poking the grilled chicken with my fork thinking “Why am I here? What’s the point? Why do I work so hard?” 

I think most young aspiring tennis players are familiar with this feeling in one way or another and we may react in different ways too. I’m a thinker…, so I can easily think, question and write myself into a depression. Others may stop coming to practice, abandon routines and diet plans or perhaps, in extreme cases, quit. 

It’s 13:00 and again I have a banana for dessert. Like every other day I notice Greg through the window. Greg is an Argentinian man of a mature age. Like all the senior members of the Andres Gimeno Tennis club, he has grey hair, a slightly hunched back and a crooked swagger in his walk. I am 19 years old and I envy the senior members like Greg because of the charisma and noticeable bliss that I see them play with every day. They look like how I felt when I started. Greg helped me realise that the true bliss got lost in the expectations, goals, competitions, failures and triumphs. There’s nothing wrong with these things, in fact we need them to grow and become better but if they steal your joy… (I don’t mean the kind of joy that comes from winning or achieving a goal, I mean the initial innate joy that comes from just playing and loving the game), it’s not worth it. 

Jim Rohn once said: “Beware of who you become in pursuit of what you want”, so remember the initial reason why you started playing and let that drive you.