Overcoming your Tennis Everest - a message for the aspiring tennis player

I left this comment for PJ (roadto45tennis.com) and World Tennis Congress organizer today in response to his post about recent setbacks.

Background: I came in contact with PJ way back in 2012 leading up to the first Tennis Congress. He was very nice and we had a nice long chat about NY’s Total Tennis vs other tennis academies. I stumbled upon this blog again the other day and so surprised to see his note about recent health issues and struggling with getting to NTRP 4.5. I hope this message finds you and your readers well, PJ!

My USPTA Tennis Coach Biography

I started out as a 3.0 USTA player.
Over a decade ago and picked up tennis late as a teenager. Climbing the next rung on the later was also my tennis life’s goal. My road too was paved with many hurdles, setbacks, multiple tennis injuries and heartbreak losses at USTA championships.

But right here I want to stop and say -
If a (small 5’5 Asian) guy with big dreams in his mid-30s can play the best tennis of his lifeevery person reading this blog can get there too! And become reigning DC Open 4.5 singles champion

The late, great boxer Muhammad Ali once said…
”Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

I have blogged my this personal life journey to put into context what is possible, however long it may take. I had a dream and the people around me that have helped me get to winning at NTRP 4.5 – facing even the toughest league players who have gone onto wins USTA Nationals under 40 titles.

From getting my USPTA certification almost 10 years ago, taught by the Master Pro Feisal Hassan. I studied the game, watched a lot of videos (many on YouTube I’ve watched can dramatically improve your form and mindset), and attended many Professional ATP/WTA matches.

Over the years, I’ve befriended great guys like Emilio Sanchez, Dick Gould, Howard Moore, Ian Westermann, Yann Auzoux, Will Hamilton etc…(whether old school and new school)…each offered an extra tool to add to the toolbox . Each year, I improved incrementally and more importantly – “I found my swing” (passage from Legend of Bagger Vance – Will Smith).

Bagger Vance: See, the trick is… to find your swing…
Rannulph Junuh: What’d you say?…
Bagger Vance: Well you lost your swing… We got to go find it… Now it’s somewhere… in the harmony… of all that is… All that was… All that will be…

When I got burned out, I traveled.
Too much time on the court is not helpful. Ask any pro that has only 1-2 months a year off the tour. I was blessed to be able to visit all 4 grand slams, all US ATP Masters, sit as a sports photographer next to Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc and still maintain a social life, a full time job and a pay my mortgage.

I have a successful tennis marketing business now at http://www.tennis-bargains.com that helps other players reach their own tennis Everest…without breaking the bank.

The Obstacle is the Way (good audio book), teaches us the hardships shape your life’s path – cherish them, welcome them, because you are what you are and who you are this day because of them.

Not only is it possible, but my own break through happened when I least expected it – when the pressure of playing “6 times a week” was taken off my shoulders.

Show Tolerance - beginning with oneself; to share compassion and love for who you are as a human being first...a tennis player much later.  If you can practice tolerance to yourself and others, you can then learn the develop the Grit and Courage needed to stand up and be yourself despite the odds. Mistakes happen, recovering and learning from each experience is key.

Accept your vision of you as you are, not the world's version of what it may prefer from you.
It isn’t what you know, it’s how you use it – how you see the ball, your opponent, your court…it isn’t changing yourself to suit the world, but applying your own style deeply to resolve the situation.

Please don’t give up. I made it, so can you PJ.  I am just one Tennis Pilgrim among millions, but it can be done.

Belief is internal, Victory is external – Inspiration is forever.
- JC