How To Improve Your Motivation For Playing Tennis

How To Improve Your Motivation For Playing Tennis

I am looking for some tips on how to make someone excited and motivated about practice again once they start to lose it or already lost it?

I know sometimes it is needed to have some break. But beside that, what else can be done to motivate someone again?

Create more matches? Find new challenges, new players to play against, new drills, or maybe even new coaches?

Before we look for ways to improve motivation, we first need to think about whether the reason for losing motivation is because now is the time to do something else.

Perhaps you will start a new career, perhaps you realized that tennis is not really what you like and it took you a really long time to figure this out.

Maybe it’s time to move on and experience new things in life.

I played volleyball for 16 years and after I quit and hardly ever played.

I don’t hate volleyball or something like that, I just feel I’ve experienced so much of it that I am wasting my life playing volleyball when I could be learning how to speak Thai or help young tennis players with their mental game.

So I have no motivation for playing volleyball and it’s a good thing.

Another situation where losing motivation is a good thing is when the player doesn’t really appreciate playing tennis and all that comes with it.

Andre Agassi lost motivation in 1997 and plummeted down to #142 in ATP rankings. And that was the best thing that happened to him.

He realized how he was wasting his talent, how he loves tennis and competition and started his comeback. Andre Agassi won French Open in 1999 and completed a career Grand Slam.

But if you sincerely believe that you want to help someone become more motivated then let’s first see what the main reason for losing motivation is.

It’s a lack of belief.

If you don’t believe you can do it (whatever you want to do), you won’t put the maximum effort.

And because you won’t put 100% effort it’s very unlikely that you will get closer to your goal.

And when you won’t get closer to your goal this further demotivates you and the circle of failure and loss motivation deepens more and more.

Why does the player lose [tag]belief[/tag] in success? Why does the player lose belief in herself?

There are many smaller parts to this but three major ones are:

1. Setting goals that are unrealistic (or not having goals at all!)
2. Having goals that don’t excite you (or give enough in return to what you will invest)
3. Having a deep belief about yourself that you are not good enough or not worthy

Let’s talk about setting goals first…

If you come to practice tennis with me and I tell you, that we’ll train you to become top 20 in the world, you wouldn’t believe you can do it.

If you are old enough of course and have realistic views of life and tennis. Kids don’t have this experience so they could actually believe me for a few years.

But when they would fail to reach the first round of WTA or ATP main draw for 10 years, they wouldn’t believe this story anymore.

So the key to [tag]setting goals[/tag] that motivate you is set them just out of your reach. You MUST believe that you can reach them otherwise you won’t put the needed effort to get there.

Instead of thinking to become top 20 in the world, try to become top 20 in your city. Or maybe top 20 under 14 if that’s your age group.

And then when you reach that goal, set a new one.

Very powerful motivators are also ego (pride, attention, being popular, being the best, winning tournaments, being interviewed on TV and so on) and money.

Money could at first be seen just as the number but money is just paper. You are not after the money (most of the times, unless you want to brag with the numbers – ego again), it’s what money allows you to experience.

So finding these motivational “buttons” with each person and using them at the right time is the key to their motivation.

The second reason for lack of motivation is that these goals are not exciting enough, in other words, they don’t give you back enough compared to what you invested. (time, energy, money)

The third reason for lack of motivation is a deeper feeling of not being good enough or not being worthy (not being capable, intelligent enough, fast enough, skilled enough, …) which typically originates from childhood.

I don’t know any quick ways of dealing with that.

What works is questioning these old beliefs and finding successes in your life that prove these beliefs false.

You need to be aware and find when you were capable enough, smart enough, fast enough, … and prove to yourself that your deeper belief about not being good enough is not true.

That way it will lose power over you. This takes time and commitment but your freedom is worth it.

Here are two additional resources about motivation if you wish to explore this subject more:

The Science of Motivation

Motivation at Wikipedia

Related posts:

Can Roger Federer Bounce Back? Does He Even Want To?
How To Make My Son A Champion
Will My Child Make It In Tennis?
Pressure To Keep Winning Matches
Is Losing The Desire To Win Tennis Matches Bad?

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 24th, 2007 at 12:03 am and is filed under Mental Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “How To Improve Your Motivation For Playing Tennis”
Erika Says:
June 25th, 2007 at 9:32 am
Thank you for your response to my question about how to improve motivation in practice. I found your comments very useful, however I think I need to be more specific in order to get a more specific answer.
The 10 year-old kid that I know is very much aware of how good he is, he loves tennis, and he knows what it takes. He had never ever had problems at practice before, and he has always loved matches and tournaments, even now. However I have noticed a change in his motivation at practice about 2 months ago. He is still doing what he is told to do, but that unique fire that was so special about him is missing. Again, itis only on the private lessons. Therefore he is not playing as well, but at the tournaments he still seems to do as good as he did before.
I know that it will not go like that for long unless he can have his attitude, and fire back on practice. And this brings me back to my question? What can cause this lack of fire? And what can be done to get it back?


Tomaz Says:
June 26th, 2007 at 1:20 am
What can cause this lack of fire? In other words, why did he lose motivation?

Here are some possible causes:

– losing belief in himself
– getting bored with same drills and same opponents
– not improving (at least noticeably for him)
– having personal / emotional issues with his parents
– losing just one match to lower ranked player (children can be totally unrealistic)
– being overtrained – everywhere just tennis, tennis, tennis and no place for being a child and having fun with other activities
– being pushed too much my coach or parents

And more of course.

When you come up with a good reason (you can also ask him), you will know how to approach the problem.

Every cause listed above has a different approach and is typically quite obvious – just do the opposite.


Erika Says:
June 26th, 2007 at 2:29 pm
Thank you very much, that makes sense.
Now it is just the matter of finding the problem…Thank you for your comments.