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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Coaches Q and A: What's The Most Important Lesson for a Junior to Learn?

This is the new year's first installment of a continuing feature on zootennis which taps the professional expertise of Andy Brandi and Harold Solomon of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Today's question: What's the most important lesson for a junior to learn?
Harold Solomon responds:

I think the most important lesson for juniors to learn is that there are no miracles that will enable them to reach their goals. Developing your skills as a tennis player is a step-by-step learning process. Each learned skill allows for the student to take the next step on the learning ladder. Students need to be committed to learning the entire set of basic technical, physical, and mental skills which will provide the foundation for their future growth and development.

Being open to "not knowing" is a key in this learning process. So many students pride themselves on already knowing everything; in fact, they have been rewarded for how much they know or think they know that they lose the benefit of not knowing, of being inquisitive, of being open to new information.

What this really boils down to is the kind of attitude that the student is willing to develop for themselves. In order for a player to be successful at the college or professional level they have to be committed to totally reinventing themselves on a constant basis. What worked in 12-and-unders is not sufficient for being successful in 16-and-unders; what worked in the 18s will not produce the results at the professional level.

Life is about learning, tennis is about learning, it's a lifelong never-ending process that if we can learn to embrace will serve us in all areas of our lives.

Do you have a question for Andy or Harold? If so, please send it to clewis[at]zootennis[dot]com with the phrase Coaches Q and A in the subject line. The next question, sent in by a reader, will address the issue of cheating.


Junior Tennis Fan said...

I was just told that Philip Bester who is presently listed at ATPtennis.com as 5 ft. 11 in. has just grown to 6 ft. 3 in. at the age of 18 or 19.

Can anyone substantiate this?

If true, I wonder how that happened?

Colette Lewis said...

The ATP height listings are notoriously inaccurate. Bester has been over 6 feet tall for several years.