In her book “Grit”, Angela Duckworth argues effort counts twice as much as talent in great achievement. She boils it down to the following equations:
Effort + Talent = Skill Set
Effort + Skill Sets = Achievement

This is at the core of becoming great at tennis and anything else in life.

Effort + Talent = Skill Set

It takes talent and effort to acquire a skill set.  The more talent, the quicker one acquires a skill set. With time, however, anyone can acquire that skill set.  It just may take a little longer.  A person with more talent will be able to toss the ball more accurately quicker than someone with less talent, but both can learn how to toss a ball.  

If you practice tossing that ball perfectly long enough, you will be able to toss it perfectly in your sleep.  Acquiring the skill sets is just the first step. What comes next?  Even more effort. Apply great effort to your skill set and you can make great achievements.

Effort + Skill Sets = Achievement

A tennis player can have all of the skill sets (big serve, great forehand, speed, etc.), but if they do not give mental and physical effort, then they are not going to win many matches or tournaments.  As coaches, we know that it is not the player with the best shots that always win matches.  The one who wins is the one that can concentrate, control their emotions, problem solve, run after every ball and never give up time after time.  

It takes more than game and skill sets to win a tournament; it takes effort and character.  High-level tennis is physically painful or uncomfortable.  Rafael Nadal says if you want to be a great player, you have to learn to love suffering.

Becoming Great at Tennis Is All About Effort

Greatness or great achievement is simply making the effort and taking the time to acquire the individual skill sets, synthesizing them and knowing how to use them, and making great efforts in a specific challenge.

Effort + Grit = Mastery

With grit (sustained interest and perseverance) we can achieve a lot more than we know.  Grit is not just for tennis or any one field.  It is the best predictor of success in any field, and transitions with time to other challenges in life.  With time, patience, sustained effort, and a growth mindset, we can achieve much more than we can imagine.  

Our kids need encouragement and to be told they can achieve great things through patience and small improvements.  Hopefully, our kids define themselves with their work ethic, character, etc. rather than their God given attributes.  If they do, they will be a much stronger and healthier person and will know setbacks and so-called failures are just part of the process.  The secret to becoming great at tennis is the same as life: always begin again and never ever give up. 

Giammalva is your Spring area resource for adult and children’s tennis and fitness training. Contact Us to learn more about helping children achieve greatness through tennis.