Key takeaways:

What does it mean to be a fighter: The willingness to suffer is a key ingredient to become a world-class athlete or experience any breakthrough in life. We usually learn this skill from our family, education and people around us, and it is course helpful to learn this already at an early age.

Action Step:  What is one area in your life in which you need to embrace the challenge and be willing to suffer?

The role of parents for professional tennis players: Without parents, it is impossible to succeed. Parents are the most important people in the career of an athlete because they manage all the aspects of a kids life, from career, school to personal well being and education.

On the difference between men and women tennis players: Men often play to win while women tend to be more defensive, and play not to lose.

What does the average practice day look like for a professional player when she does not play a tournament? They usually train for 3 hours. For Eric focused quality time is better than spending ten hours on the court.

Action Step: Introduce Powerblocks of time where you work on a high-value activity free from any distractions.

How does a world-class athlete recover when she does not have a match? Recovery is critical, and usually, I encourage my player to do one of the following things, apart from having a professional massage.

  • sleeping at least 8-9 hours
  • watching a movie;
  • seeing friends.

Action Step: What can you do to recover well daily, so you feel rested and rejuvenated?

How do you deal with a player when they lose motivation or how do you keep them like hungry?

  • A player needs to trust her coach so that he or she can influence them to regain their drive.
  • They need to learn to believe in themselves, and in their ability to constantly improve.
  • We need to ensure that even if practices are tough, there is always an element of fun as well.

Action Step: Think about what motivates you, and what you can do on days when you just feel a bit stuck.

What does it take for an athlete to be both successful and happy? Tennis is a very tough and competitive sport, you lose a match almost every week. So the key is to love the game, to love the challenge to push yourself and to be hungry to keep improving and working hard. In other words, we need to enjoy both results but also the journey of becoming a better player.

Action Step: How can you make sure you enjoy your career more, regardless of specific outcomes?

What would you recommend a player who always falters under pressure? You need to develop confidence by always thinking like a champion. When a player chokes, it means she does not have faith in her own shots. This means we need to get back her confidence on the practice courts but also train match situations that make her nervous.

Action Step: Think like a champion by believing that you will always find a way to work yourself through a problem or challenge.

Favorite movie: Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story (1996)



Facebook Page: @eric.v.harpen

Twitter: @EricvanHarpen

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