tennis - The W1nners' Club

There are various things you can do when you first lose your job.

You can either:

  1. Cry.
  2. Buy a bottle whisky and then cry after consuming half of it in the time it takes to drink a double measure.
  3. Cry, then buy a bottle of whisky and consume the lot in 5 gulps before crying some more.
  4. Get to work on finding a new job.

If you decide to choose number 4, you’ll need to consider which area of employment will be most suited to your skills.

Have you ever considered becoming a professional tennis champion?

You’ll get to spend all day wearing headbands and drinking Robinson’s barley water instead of whisky. If shouting at umpires because of a disputed point sounds like it might be a whole load of fun, here’s what you’ll need to do to become the next Wimbledon tennis champion:

1.    Get fit

 

You’ll notice that not many tennis champions have trouble getting around the court because they’re not in shape, so you should also be in tip-top condition if you want to reach the top. Make sure you do lots of cardio training and some weights as well but not too much. As much as having a pot belly won’t get you the Wimbledon title, being the size of a weightlifter will do you no favours either.

2.    Practice as much as possible

 

As with everything in life, the more you practice your tennis, the better you’ll ultimately get. Tennis will need to become the most important thing in your life if you’re going to make it to the top, so bear that in mind the next time you get invited on a lad’s or lass’s weekend away with your mates. Some psychologists claim that it takes up to 5 years or 1,000 hours to become an expert in an athletic endeavour, so think of all the time you’ve spent in pubs and nightclubs in the past and then halve that amount – that’s what you’ll need to put in to become the best!

3.    Do what the professionals do……

 

The best players do things that set them apart from the competition so you’ll need to find the areas of your game that need to be developed. There isn’t a single way to play tennis but if you can identify the different areas that need improving, your whole game should improve as a result. Remember that training is not just about hitting the ball but identifying weaknesses in your game, however, if hitting the ball is a continual problem – maybe tennis isn’t the sport for you!

4.    Play with people that are better than you

 

……it’s the best way to develop. As fun as it is to humiliate opponents on the court by beating them all the time, you won’t improve this way. You need to continually test yourself against superior players so that you develop and whilst this might mean taking the odd shoeing from time to time, your game should improve as a result (please note: avoid playing against someone so good that the ball boy ends up with more points than you).

5.    Get yourself an experienced coach

 

No matter how hard you push yourself, at some point you’ll need outside help to take you to the next level. A good coach should strive to push you past your current level of excellence, so it will involve a huge effort on your part. Listen to what he or she has to say and don’t throw a wobbly every time you are criticised – there’s plenty of time for that when you’re playing at Wimbledon!

6.    Reach out to a mentor

 

As you progress, you’ll need to find a mentor that has played tennis professionally to help provide moral and critical support as you develop in the game. Try to reach out to professional athletes that you meet at tournaments and see if they would be prepared to assist you by means of mentoring. Be mindful that you’ll need to develop these relationships slowly, as nobody wants to be harassed by a young upstart that wants a mentor but won’t even let you take a post-game shower in peace!

7.    Be prepared to make sacrifices

 

Love life, social life, family life? All will need to take a back seat because you’ll be required to commit your all once you hit the road and start competing in tournaments – one theory as to why tennis players are so bloody miserable perhaps?

8.    Get an understanding of the costs involved

 

Playing on the professional tennis circuit can cost you in excess of £100,000 a year once you include all the travel and hotel mini bar charges you’ll incur. Add to this the fact that you’ll need to pay for a coach early on in your career and you won’t actually earn much from competing itself – tennis is not for the shallow of pocket. Fear not however, because there are various support structures in place to support promising players on their voyage to the top like national lottery grants.

9.    Win Wimbledon

 

If Andy Murray can do it – so can you!

Good luck!

 

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