Mindset of a champion?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by WoodIndoors, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    My player, 9 years old, started a year ago, likes to hit hard, wants to win every single point in practise. She runs like h.ll to reach every ball. Real fighter.

    Now she says she wants to start playing tournaments. My plan is to postpone that until her game is "ready" enough. But she says she can't wait to start competing because she wants to win 'real matches' and also because she's "soo eager to make the other girl cry for losing her".

    Should I try to convince her that that's a wrong motive to play tennis? That tennis is "just a game"? It seems pretty important to her
     
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  2. jgmellor

    jgmellor New User

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    Let her play.
     
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  3. Rina

    Rina Rookie

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    Let her play a novice tournament, see how she does and take it from there.
     
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  4. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    If she wants to play let her play. Just make sure that she knows its not about wins and losses right now its about doing it right and improving every day.GOOD LUCK!!!! It sounds like you got a got a good one.
     
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  5. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Not so sure about this.
     
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  6. widmerpool

    widmerpool Rookie

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    [​IMG]

    Sounds like a healthy mindset.
     
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  7. TennisCoachIN

    TennisCoachIN Rookie

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    My eight year old really wanting to start playing tournaments this summer and I was okay with it as long it was not all about winning or losing, but making steady improvement in her game. She agreed and has kept to her word.

    I would say let her play. Please make sure to hold her accountable for whatever goals you have her playing tournaments (fun, work hard, etc..).

    Have Fun... some of the best memories of my life our during the car rides and lunches with my daughter during these tournaments :)
     
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  8. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    Teach her to be super respectful off court and never try to change her attitude about destroying the competition that is a great mindset ,nurture it as much as possible , the only time my player is to show kindness on the court is if his competition gets hurt other then that he is there to crush them .

    Best to you and your kids
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
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  9. Rina

    Rina Rookie

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    I have to agree with this sentiment when it comes to my son. He is the nicest kid, truly, I have another child, and seen many kids, and my own child makes me very proud by being nicest, kindest boy you'll meet. But, it drives me crazy on the court when he does this constant applauding to his opponent. For example he played a kid and my son was up 5-2 and this other kid started changing scores, saying no it's 30-40 for me, not 40-30 for you... Then he called every close ball out, and bunch of parents and my son saw it was in. In the end my child loses and he was still applauding cheaters good shots!!! I am not saying he shouldn't be nice, but it is costing him many matches.
     
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  10. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    Start teaching your son to be business minded out there ,most will say it needs to be "fun" hogwash , start by explaing he is out there working for points and the win is his paycheck and any kid cheating is a shoplifter in his business and no one applauds a theif they must be treated harshly !

    Once again a gentleman off the court ,all business on the court and if he needs fun take him to Disneyland or a beach or park .

    Best to you .
     
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  11. Surecatch

    Surecatch Semi-Pro

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    Match experience is invaluable. To me there is no such thing as waiting for the game to be ready. Once she can keep from getting blown off the court, get her in there if she wants to. Match play is an important component of the development process/learning curve. Learning to win is not always as easy as learning the strokes and the strategy.
     
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  12. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    It's common knowledge that juniors at the top of the 10 & 12's rankings usually disappear once they reach the 18's.

    If you allow a junior to compete without the proper stroke foundation, winning by just keeping the ball in play, then you set them up for failure, regardless of how mentally tough they are.
     
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  13. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    As long as she already mastered the basic sound technique, necessary strokes, serves, and mentally capable to compete, I don't see why not. You can try putting her in tournaments as a part of learning. I would suggest that you do not overlyemphasize on winning and losing. Not competing for points or build up ranking esp. just after a year of tennis in her case. Make sure to stress on testing her skills, strategies, emotionally, etc in tournament matches as part of her development.
    She seems overly competitive already wanting to make the other girl cry. Coming from another competitive sport...perhaps? Competitiveness is quite a good quality to have. As a parent please know that tennis is an individual sport. Be ready to support her. She is as likely to cry when she loses. My 13 year old cried with a surprised loss the other day. Very rarely now but still happened. She was upset that she played poorly and should have won. Match experience is as important as good technique, IMO. Cannot have one without the other.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
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  14. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I would use the serve as a guide. If she's able to serve correctly and get a decent percentage in, then go for it. Conversely, if she's going to double fault 2 points away every game, she's not going to be very successful and it might backfire. If she's as competitive as you say, set a goal, like when she can correctly and consistently get 7 out of every 10 serves in and at least start the point neutral, good to go.

    Also, don't squash her competitiveness. It's a good thing. If she's not "ready" to play competitive matches, use her competitive fire to set goals for her to get there through practice points, sets, or matches.

    Lastly, I agree with Number1Coach (did I just say that, Brad?!:)) when people say it always has to be fun is "hogwash". When they are little, 5-6, then yes, it's hit and giggle, while bringing them along. When they get towards 10-12, the fun is in being good and winning. That takes work and you can enjoy the work. It's a sport. You try to win. That's the point. At the same time, you have to teach them how to win and lose the right way.

    Good luck and feed that fire!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
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  15. Oz_Rocket

    Oz_Rocket Semi-Pro

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    I've recently had to go through this with my son. He just turned nine and has only been playing since January this year. He has very good hand eye coordination and has progressed well but has some obvious weaknesses in his game. I was a bit reluctant because almost every other kid has been playing for at least a year longer than him and most are a year older. But he plays a very aggressive and strong game for his size so between his coach and myself we thought why not see how he goes.

    We did a lot of expectation management and set some ground rules with him:

    1. Chances are you will lose most of your matches so be prepared for this. It is not about winning or losing but finding out your weaknesses and improving them more quickly than you would just being coached.
    2. Play your naturally aggressive game and while defensive shots in response to goods shots from your opponent are okay, always play to win. Go for winners, deep shots in the corners, cross courts and drop shots. No pushing.
    3. Weaknesses in your game will become evident very quickly. Accept that fixing this may take some time but it will make you a better player.
    4. Try to identify where your opponent is weak and target this. Are they bad at backhands? Do they get put off if you approach the net? Start to think strategy.

    So far he has only played one round robin tournament but it went well. Lost all four matches as expected but won 25% of the games and took well over half of the lost games to deuce. He was really let down by lazy footwork and unforced errors so we are working hard on these but he played a very aggressive game and hit a lot of unplayable winners. Forehand passing shots, backhand cross court shots and drop volleys. He just isn't consistent enough yet.

    So my advice is provided you can keep her ambition in check go for it. The moment she drops her bundle and isn't learning from her mistakes it will all become counter productive. And unfortunately that is what from my limited recent experience seems to happen more often than not, particularly with girls.

    Also to me there is a distinct but important difference between a burning desire to win and a desire to make your opponent cry at losing. You just can't define success in sport by the reaction (or lack of) from your opponent. Don't get me wrong, if you can win every game to love then do so. I want my son to have a strong desire to win. But one of the best bits of advice I received as a junior was to only concentrate on what I could control. My technique, my preparations, etc. The moment I started to try to control stuff like the weather, the condition of the court or how the other player reacted I was setting myself up for failure.
     
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  16. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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  17. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    Thanks for your invaluable comments!

    BMC, your advice to use serve as a guide makes sense to me. I think I won't let her compete before she can master that well enough.

    That "make the other girl cry" stuff...well, that made me wonder also...So I asked her if she could explain why she'd like that and for an answer she mumbled something like 'I want my opponent to really feel my good game'

    I think it may have something to do with our practise habits where, besides spending majority of time learning the right technique, I make her play points with her brother so that there's either some 'prize' for the winner but even more often some appropriate "humiliation" reserved for the loser - like singing loudly some (stupid) popsong while jogging around the park (which 'punisment' she and her brother have always decided together) ...

    But I'd be more than happy to hear more (following #1 coach) of your ideas how to raise a kid with a mindset of a winner?
     
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  18. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    =====double post=======
     
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  19. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    And when comparing American tennis academies to Russian academies,

    you state -

    I often wonder where these kids come from who clap and holler for their opponent's double faults or when the opponent falls.

    Got it. Now I understand the mindset.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
    #19
  20. widmerpool

    widmerpool Rookie

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    OK, this has to be a parody thread.
     
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  21. ClarkC

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    Such deja vu feeling when reading this. I am pretty sure I read something about American youth sports on The Onion that had almost this exact same language.
     
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  22. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    ===================
     
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  23. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    If you want to develop a champion from such a young age, I'd suggest looking at China, Russia and the former eastern european bloc countries. There, they whisk away 6yr olds into full-time boarding sports academies, make them train 8 hours/day and basically raise sports robots. They are 100% focused, have a killer instinct second to none and will use all means necessary to win.
     
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  24. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    My question is, why does the loser have to be punished?
     
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  25. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    From my experience they come from Texas with last names like Johnson or Smith:) Had the whole opponent's family and her double partner cheering my daughter's double-faults and unforced errors.
    We know you have a grudge. So what did these "russian" kids do to your son?
    (could not resist, the forum is sleepy lately, TCF is on his usual time-out as he went overboard again)
     
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  26. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    'fear' of 'punishment' in practise match makes it more exciting, and therefore more enjoyable...it simulates matchplay better - no?

    Don't you find playing a game more enjoyable when there is some nice 'humiliation' waiting for the loser?
     
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  27. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    I don't think the "mindset of a champion" derives joy from humiliating the opponent. That is not a champion I would admire nor ever want my child to be.
     
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  28. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    I think it's time to let this thread DIE.
     
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  29. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Winning or losing really doesnt matter at all. I think my daughter wins if she gets out there and does it right. If she goes out and hits out on every ball and competes she wins!!
     
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  30. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    I have been following this thread and love #1 COACH's advice on "how to create a mindset of a CHAMPION".

    Kinda surprised Mikej did not jump into this thread and turned it around already.
     
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  31. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    Well, you write humiliating I wrote 'humiliating' and for me the latter is a pivotal part of top level sports, 'Humiliating' for example by hitting a perfectly timed dropshot which makes opponent (also world class player) stumble, even makes her look like a total novice for a second. In the eyes of you, crowd, herself...

    To say that it's not enjoyable to do that...I don't know...should you be sorry?

    Agassi made sometimes his opponents run some extra, wanted to 'humiliate' them...no?

    Well, to be outplayed like that is different sort of humiliation than singing some stupid song after losing, of course...

    #1coach mentioned business...what do you think the reactions are at Samsung when Apple stumbles...
     
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  32. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    WoodIndoors,

    Let her play some tournaments and test her skills. You'll see where the holes are and you all can work on that.
     
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  33. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    10ismom,

    Thanks for the advice but....not yet.

    Maybe next fall earliest, propably not even then. she must know how to attack with her second serve first...
     
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  34. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Sounds like a good plan. Her age is a dilemma because of 10Under.

    Don't wait till 13 though. I read somewhere girls developed majority of their skills by 12.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
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  35. WoodIndoors

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    I think I get your point all right, concentrate things you can control, task vs. outcome oriented goals etc...

    ...but at the same time toughest competitors I know personally are the ones who refuse to lose. To whom winning and losing means absolutely everything (at least until the game is over). In team sports they often are the mvp's. And, believe it or not, their mindset have been more or less the same since childhood. They love winning, absolutely hate losing, and it's the outcome that motivates them most.

    When not playing they can be the nicest persons, ready to give a hand for how little reasons (well, they can be quite selfish, ego centered also but not necessarily), but dare to play some game with them...

    Is it innate?

    Well, majority of elite athletes are not first childs
     
    #35
  36. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Well I guess she will never play a tournament. In my over 30 years around tennis I have never seen a girl attack with there second seve. Keep dreaming!!! 80% or more of the women on tour can't attack with there first serve. Let her play when she wants to.Have fun!!!! I know I didn't spell their right.
     
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  37. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    These are also the little girls who at 12 can't deal with losing and play to win instead of developing weapons for the future.I think it's AWESOME that she is such a fighter but you as the parent have to skate a fine line.Let her know winning doesn't matter if your not building for the future when it really matters. GOOD LUCK WELCOME TO THE BOARD!!!! A lot of good people here.
     
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  38. Oz_Rocket

    Oz_Rocket Semi-Pro

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    On the whole mindset of a champ thing, one of my favourite sporting quotes comes from 5 times world motorbike champion Mick Doohan.

    When fellow Australian bike rider Casey Stoner was competing in the lower classes he was always one of the fastest riders, but after taking the lead early in a race he'd more often than not drop the bike pushing too hard for the win.

    When Doohan was asked about this sad state of affairs, he quickly replied it wasn't a problem as you can teach someone to stay on a bike but you can't teach them how to "be fast". Stoner has gone on to win two world championships and has ridden bikes fast that no one else can.

    With tennis we can teach my son to be more consistent and improve his footwork and technique. What I can't as easily give him is that desire to compete and win. Him being the one always at me to go for a hit so he can improve. Always at me about what tournaments are coming up and how many events he can enter.

    Like I found out as a junior, at some point his ambition will outweight his talent and he will find his own level. At which point I hope, unlike me, he stays with tennis and accepts that improvement will be slower but he can still enjoy the game.
     
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  39. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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    ====================
     
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  40. ClairHarmony

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    She could well be an ISTP or ESTP from the sounds of it. Think ESTP BJ Penn, and his first BJJ/Jack-of-all-trade's coaches reaction to him.

    First time sparring w. him, and out of nowhere, bop-bop-bop...bop-bop-bop. ESTP's love to bop. ESPECIALLY at the start, that's the great thing about their spirit.

    Uber confident from the start, out of the box ready to compete in sports, sounds like it to me. Just a hunch.

    Tennis is a VERY good sport for their natural spirits. It's a VERY good match. For an INFP, that's just not enough. Too much inspiration required of a "spiritual" nature, to extract their best...better, more "comfy" playing the behind-the-scenes-hero...better for team sports where they can blend in, and not feel "selfish" about going for it.

    ESTP's like to talk trash in general, it's what it is. It's not necessarily a bad thing. U have to understand, that if u take that away from them, they're no longer the same animal. That spirit, that gives life it's pulse. A little ribbing is a GOOD thing. So many who hate on Agassi, just don't get that. U take that away, u lose the soul.

    Everything up to a point, and in balance. Bad things happen when people try to force their souls on others, w/out stopping to think why it is that we have very obviously different *spirit-orientations* irrespective of being family.

    Look at what happened to Marinovich (ISTP ruthless like a Bob Knight, when out of control, and not seeing it as important enough to become balanced in type), and his ESTP son. Bad things happen when we ignore the soul. But the most important part of that story, is how the elder Marinovich later sought out Niednagel, with one pertinent question...*why?* Where did it all go wrong, long after it didn't matter anymore. That was the dad in him talking, proving it's never too late to prove that u cared all along. That was really heart-warming and inspiring to me, even if it ended in "failure?" I think not, w/out the extreme samples in life, we'd be lost w/out any real need for humanity. It's what makes this world round, and not square you dope. If I had any kids, that's what I'd tell them. Don't do dope. Rule #2, give me really good back rubs whenever I want. Rule #3, really good lasagne or bust, by the time I come home. Otherwise,no Xbox720 for u, ha-ha!!! Oh, man, that's just straight up too ruthless, even for me, forget that last suggestion.

    ESTP's wanna compete...like *gang-busters,* right from the start, let them come out of that gate. They won't be happy otherwise.

    The issue is this. IF they are of the prodigious sort, there's a real potential for them to become that bully who CAN back it up...and, no, that's NOT a good thing. Why? Because, the bigger they are, the harder they'll fall. You have to protect them from that, bcs. sooner or later, there's always gonna be someone bigger and/or "badder." And why they talk trash? Bcs. like all of us, it usually *helps* them.


    We all have our own "personas" if you will, it's subtle, but it's there. An ISTP typically likes to have something to get mad it, put these things in their head...think a Lendl, pounding on his noggin' with his pointy fingers. An ESTP likes to talk *hype* to get the juices going, to talk trash, in that playful way...that's just a little mischevious feeling by nature, think live war on a coffee break...think, the British hypester, Dan Hardy, to me he's a very probable "classic" ESTP. Note how though a TKD base, initially, he actually seems to rarely use kicks, don't matter his training. HIs *natural* spirit inclination to me ist still going to be the same, gonna prefer those punches...that *quick*-hitting, *sharp,* *snappy* kapow, like feeling you know? Not necessarily, over frilly and fancy (ST's frequently think too much abstract is "BS," in nature, it's just their nature)...and? A *killer instinct.* When see an opening, they'll typically, they have no problem, think Penn-Sherk ending. They'll explode, their eyes light up, they'll "catch" see that opening immediately, very alert too. Like Pirihanna/heyenas...u know?

    Problem is, this, they only talk the hype, because they *need* to...it's a mask. It's the *easy* way for them to perform their best. You're daughter may think she's being tough by doing that, but really she's not. It's just a mask for our insecurities. Our "natural" ideal performance personas, are good for the good days, but will never see you through the bad. That's the problem with relying on those tried and true unique little ways we use to get ourselves "pumped up." Watch and see if Pioline at his best, don't like to play that "behind the scenes superhero." See, that's what I mean. Problem is, that on Sunday, and it's no longer behind the scenes...that was the problem he always ran into...and that's what I mean.

    See, how when Leconte (ENTP) finally stood up to McEnroe on the seniors tour, finally had enough, and literally sprint and lept the net, to get in his mug, to tell him to shut the bleep up...McEnroe's bluff, he was like all, whaa...? Didn'dt know how to respond. Watch how Connors and McEnroe only seemed to go into their histrionics modes, when losing momentum...don't think for as econd the other player's didn't know. Leconte finally did something about it, and McEnroe's "ideal" performance state persona or whatever was proven to be just what I say, a *mask* for our *human* insecurities. We all have them.

    Why do ESTP's love to talk spirited trash? Because, they *want* people to show up, they are like adrenaline junkies, they love to live on the edge, push buttons, in search of that "surge," that "jolt" if you will...but rarely that spiritual by nature. We're all still human deep down. A type like that that thrives on that, how do they overcome their "fears?" That's right, by talking over them. Be finding a way to get that "high," they can *usually* overcome, and when we see that our persona maks or whatever get results time after time (except for thsoe times when we suck dump trucks), what do we do? We keep on going back to that well, time and itme again, w/out working on *truly* making ourselves stronger to the core. It's just superficial lip service, and we evolve not one iota this way.

    Look at Forget in that heroic Davis Cup victory of 91, that's NOT "normal" for his INFP type. He was *centered,* in the soul, that's not relying on no "short term" gimic, like a "go to" drug to carry you through. That took late-career maturity to reach that point.

    Our "personas," whatever they may be, tend to fail you when u need them most in life, when failing to recognize the best (and worst) qualities in all our types. It's just a better way of looking at things. U need to know these things. Look at the latest X-Factor, where contestants were paired in twos, and what did it lead to? That's right subtle and not so subtle sabotaging, by the "stronger" of those twos. But there are rarely any do-overs in life, "life and death desparate" swing junctures like that don't come along very often, and the desparation of many of these contenstants unfathomable to those who only ever veered according to the books...but it is what it is. "Be aware, not weary." Don't be afraid of no homies, no more, know what I mean? The more you're able to see through all that, X-ray, straight to the soul, that's true strength. No matter how far out, that's balance, and then there is always hope...plus, you're a better person too.

    Protecting nothing. Whenever, we mask our insecurities and weaknesses, it is what it is, it's just a coverup, and makes you weaker and inertia-proof. I don't want to end up inert in court. Don't let it get to that point.
     
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  41. ClairHarmony

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    U need to let an ESTP compete, holding her out isn't the answer. But u'll have to work on her spirit extra strong as you go...otherwise, at a later day, u never know and she just might derail...when things don't go exactly according to plan (as they often don't for us mere mortals in life, then whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do w/out a soul? Better to work on it now. Better to start, instilling that portion of her "lost" perspective now. It's in their, burried a little down deeper in there than for some, but it's still there. I have a greater perspective in mind now, a more universal way of thinking, less slamming, but more grand, ya know?). Vut it's exhausting, and not particularly exciting. But, oh well, I hope I guess, that someobyd's gotta try at least sometime, just the way it is. What little we can to contribute. I actually like ESTP's a lot, they don't really bother me, but rub others the wrong way, we all have certain types usually who just kind act like our triggers, hit that nerve, for whatever reason, it just is what it is, the more we feel inclned to learn about, then less and less so, then eventually just appreciate, the way it is, and grow stronger in the process, less blind-faults to deal with, feeling al ittle bit more sublime today. Btw, could well be a ST, maybe even a NT...but unlikely a SF, or NF, jmo, I'd skip the rest, I really think Niednagel's more accurate, bcs. he was the first to really start seeing through the persona. His type tends to be "made" for objectively, methodically classifying things and patterns that they see, less blinded that way, I mean come on, really, Dill Clontin an ESFP? An how an ESFP woman probably think shes an INFJ...just how it is. Niednagels' type I bleieve ISTJ tends to be best at not letting feelings or fame or whatever get in the way, w. what do I actually see...it's very hard to remain netural color blind-like that, most of us, we immediately want to apply our "persona" tint to everything, hey it's tough going through life feeling like vanilla pudding, but somebody's gotta do it. It's a "special" talent too, just not as obvious and "glorified" as some. Whenever you start getting into glorifying traits, you're just killing the soul, but don't even know it yet. Then, when everything goes kapooey in you're life, you'll go ah man, I wish I knw that sooner.
     
    #41
  42. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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  43. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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  44. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    There are no pro-prospect or All-American college caliber athletes in our family in any sport.

    But the motto in every sport has always been:

    Play for the fun of it.............and there's nothing more fun than winning
     
    #44
  45. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    glad I am not the only one who feels like someone is posting from a mental institution :)
     
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  46. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I think all this is perfectly natural. She's a kid. Competitive, but still a kid. Drama, winning, losing, joy, embarrassment, tears, etc. All part of life as a kid. She'll mature. In the mean time, don't forget that you can use her competitive spirit to improve. Set goals. Make practice competitive. No need to rush into format competition until she won't fall back on bad habits just to win.
     
    #46
  47. valsmokes

    valsmokes Banned

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    It looks like you're on the right path. I would suggest to play lots of points during practice. With the mindset that it appears your kid has I would bet that he/she gets bored with drills, if that is the case, try to involve lots of points in the training where he/she has to win and not just hit the ball with no point. You can use that winning mindset and still develop strokes. Try and get a good match play for every day where both players need to hate to lose. Play as much tournaments as possible. Always go a level up if he/she won certain age group do not play in it again once is enough and play him/her next age up. Performance under pressure is key and that is only learned through battles with people watching. You never know what you've got on your hands.
     
    #47
  48. WoodIndoors

    WoodIndoors New User

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  49. TCF

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  50. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Agree, gotta have the proper strokes before starting tournament play. Almost impossible to change ingrained "tournament strokes".

    She will never lose her "killer instinct", let her apply that killer instinct to learning the correct techniques.
     
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