100% – Creating a tennis champion

In my experience developing players and interviewing and talking with world-renowned coaches, the question comes up, what makes a champion?

There are many variables that will play a part in what level a player will ultimately reach.  With that, we all know you need to have great athletic ability, great coaching, personal drive/heart, supportive parents and money.  Let’s go through each of these and see how they plug into the 100%

Athletic Ability This doesn’t mean you know how to play other sports and have knowledge of other sports.  This is the ability to have quick foot speed to change direction, ability to accelerate and stop quickly, flexibility to adjust to any type of bad bounce or bad read, ability to sustain level of athletes for long matches.  This is part of the game that you can always continue to improve.  Everybody has a different level of athletic ability and the goal is to maximize each individual’s level.

Importance 15%

Coaching This part of the equation in EXTREMELY important.  All coaches are not the same.  Quality coaches will cost more per hour but the cumulative growth that you will get is well worth the cost.  A great coach does not make a great player but it an integral part of the equation to get to the stop.  They will build the foundation solid from the beginning.  This will allow them to build a game to maximize the player’s ability.

Importance 30%

Players Drive/Will All players want to succeed, they want to win the big tournament, want to be ranked #1.   Does that player want all of these but only if doing what they are doing now will get them there or does that player constantly goes above and beyond to give them a better chance to succeed at these goals.  This comes from deep within a player and it’s something you can’t teach.  They have it or they don’t.

Importance 25%

Parents Players need to be supportive of the players and what they want to achieve.  I’ve heard parents at matches tell their players “just keep the ball in or just rally”.  These parents don’t know that the players and the coach have been working on and now the player is confused, do I listen to the parents and have an OK drive home or do I continue to do what my coach is developing with me for the long-term and have a LONG TALK on the way home.  Coaches need to educate parents on what they are working on and the overall process of development.  Parents contradicting the coach can kill development and trust instantly.

Importance 20%

Money – Money plays a variable role in development, as players get better costs will rise.  You will be paying coaches, tournament travel expenses, equipment costs, etc.  Having the funds available and willing to be spent is one less hurdle to jump over when players start developing to the higher levels of the game.  Major TIP – Don’t cheap out on coaching because the coach at the local neighborhood is cheaper.  You get what you pay for!

Importance 10%

This was harder than expected.  Each one of these plays a major role and will fluctuate depending on the individual person.  Looking at this you can really understand why it’s so hard to develop a champion.  Some of these factor are out of the players hands and you really need the stars to align for players to really reach their potential.

What would your percentages be?