Saturday, March 30, 2013

Is the competition good enough?


Dallas Aleman | Towpath Tennis Owner | Tennis Guru

This is one of the most significant misnomer of questions in tennis. Too many times have we depended on our competitors to make us play well. What we need to realize is the importance of running your own race. An effective motivational tool to gauge how you compare to your competition is what's called the rearview mirror. The thought behind this is finding your own motivation that drives you to win instead of relying on those around you. In other words, play towards your goals instead of chasing after your competitors. There is no doubt that many people play up in the face of competition, but what we need to change is our perception of the belief that it is our competitors that bring out the best in us.

If you are counting on your competition to bring out your best game, you are surrendering control of your most important asset. Real achievement comes from driving ahead when no one else sees a path, and holding back when the rush of competition isn't going where you want to go. If you're dependent on competition, then you're counting on the quality of those that show up to determine how well you play. Worse, you've signed up for a series of false matches as the only way to get better. This is where the rearview mirror works for you as a great tool for self-motivation.

Self-motivation is and will always be the most important form of motivation. The most recent example of this is Nadal's resurgence to the top of the game. He didn't improve and recover by just looking for people to compete against (driving with his eyes on the rearview mirror). It's easy to measure your performance against others but if it's real performance you want, you need to drive ahead no matter what the competiton is doing and focus on your own needs.

There are very few players that really get it. When I hear the question, "who am I playing," it is a real clue to what motivates a player. Are you looking in the rearview mirror or are you like Nadal who is striving towards something beyond the competition?

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