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What advice would you give yourself at ages 8-13 to help you in your tennis today?

Give a great answer, and you may be quoted in my next book that will be published in May.  



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This is a fascinating question.  I do know so much more about tennis and life in general that I have so much to tell my 11 year old self.  It's one thing to give this advice to a junior but it is up to them to listen to it....    My son is a player and he's just turned 12; he doesn't listen to any of my advice.

Here's some thoughts:

1.  Enjoy the process of learning, the process of tennis.  Don't get so hung up on wins and losses.  Do not worry about winning when you a junior.  If you enjoy the game, the wins will come.

2.  Trust your strokes.  Do not worry about missing a shot to the point where you alter or abbreviate the stroke; don't push.  Pushers can win in the short run but will never win the the long run.  Learn to trust your strokes during the stressful moments of the match and the more you commit to it, the better you will get at dealing with that stress.

3.  Let me work on this one... I'll be back....


Thanks Mark, I like answer #1, as its more the mental and emotional part I am addressing in my book.  I would love to quote you, and reference this site.  I want to discuss with you ways to partner together more... There are some interesting changes going on in Tennis in the U.S. and T.O. and play a positive role. 


forget out and chase girls.  I didnt play between 8-13

In my case things went great from 8 to 13.  I loved tennis and was very successful. I won several national tournaments in Mexico at that age and things just seemed to develop naturally.  Back then competitive tennis was a whole different animal.  You usually took a lesson or two a week and then played with your buddies the rest of he time - lots of matches and little instruction - lots of fun.  You had to figure things out.  

I guess, if I had to pick one thing to tell myself, it would be to work on a top spin backhand.  I grew up playing on clay and did not really develop that shot until college.  It took me many years to feel really comfortable with it. 


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