Monday, December 31, 2018

4 Ways To Calm Your Nerves When Watching Your Child Compete

"Don't worry about winning and losing.  Just have fun." -- a parent

It is a mantra that is outdated.  It is ill-adviced.  Or maybe it was meant for the parent's ears, to play the anxiety down a bit.  

Competition is uncomfortable; it is nerve-wracking for the players and their parents respectively.  Just as we preach to our kids about preparing for their matches, it will serve parents well to do the same for themselves.  Get mentally ready for a marathon match filled with a roller coaster of emotions.

Listed here are 4 things that you can do:
1) Ask the coach what they are working on.  Keep notes.
2) Look for progress.  Look at the big picture.
3) Hydration.  Drink on your child's changeovers.  This will make you breathe.
4) Let it go.  Your child made a dumb error?  Don't dwell on it.  Count backward 5,4,3,2,1 and let it go!

You are your child's biggest fan and influencer.   You are their biggest role model.

Yours Truly...


Monday, December 24, 2018

How to Identify the Right Coach for Your Child

There is a notion that if you want to be good at something, to be successful, you look for the best person to work with and that person is usually of an authoritarian position.

But is that always true though?  Is the best coach always the right coach for your child?  Coaches are a dime a dozen in the coaching profession.  Just like any profession, there are the master coaches who have a reputation of consistently developing champions; there are the seasoned coaches who are experts in their field; and then there are the rookie coaches.  

So, how do you find a coach who is the right fit for your child?  How do you find a coach who is not just singing a good song?  How do you know if the coach is not just tickling your ears saying what you want to hear?  

Here are a few simple guidelines:
  1. Accreditation.  Teaching tennis is a profession that is available to just about anybody owning a tennis racquet.  You want to make sure the coach you're recruiting for your child has the knowledge beyond the current level of your child.  At the minimum, there are stepping stones in the program to accommodate your child's tennis development.
  2. Know their philosophy.  Every good coach has their own philosophy stemmed from years of experiences.  It's their belief system.  There mission statement.
  3. Relational.  At the end of the day, it's about human connections.  Communications.  You'd want to make sure the coach understands you're included in this three-way relationship.  It's a package deal.  It's teamwork.
  4. Chemistry.  The best coach for your child is someone who can build good chemistry with your child; not just by their status.  The best coach in the world is not necessarily the best fit for your child.  Your child's enthusiasm working with the coach is a sure sign of good chemistry.
  5. Has high expectations.  There is no substitution to setting the bar high in pursuit of excellence.  Coaches with high expectations are usually demanding and brutally honest.  No one said to be good is easy.
  6. Accountable.  While students are responsible and made accountable for their own growth, coaches are responsible to get the most out of them.  Within each coach is the pride of seeing their students succeed.  They are diligently looking for ways to help your child improve.
  7. Goals oriented.  Burnt out is a word that is used by the mushy individual who prefers to throw in the towel than plunging through tough times.   Good coaches know the importance of resetting goals throughout the development and performance journey.  The level doesn't stay linear.  It's a metric measure of getting better or getting worse.
  8. Congruency.  Avoid the trap from coaches telling you what you want to hear.  Watch if they are delivering their words.  That is not to say you question every single thing when they don't follow the plan.  Look at the big picture.  Is what they're doing with your child moving in the right direction.

Finding the right coach takes hard work, dedication, and due diligence from you.  Remember, the best coach does not inevitably mean it is the right coach for your child. The importance lies in finding a coach who has the necessary tools to empower him or her for the future ahead.  

See you next week.

Yours Truly...

Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Build Champions Inside Out

Research showed that the most common New Year's resolutions are to exercise more, to make healthier food choices, to lose weight, to save more money, to quit smoking, etc, etc...The desire to make a resolution is with the hope to transition from a bad habit into a positive one.  

If you have a child in a high-performance sport or striving to be in one, you have probably heard of the different components to doing well: physical skills, tactical and technical skills, weapons, mental strength, etc, etc.  Without a doubt, mental strength is the hardest skill to develop but once acquired, it separates the elite from the high performers.    

So, what do the New Year's resolutions have to do with building champions inside out?  Most programs and coaches work on developing playing skills because the window of improvements is obvious to the eyes.  It's measurable.  But working on developing mental strength is immeasurable.  It takes energy and hard work and it takes time, a very long time. And progress is slow and not so obvious to the sight.

However, once the mental strength comes into fruition it can lift the level of performance to different heights and there appears an athlete totally transformed.  If having a good mental strength is the key to success and that it is a skill that can be learned, won't it be worthwhile to make it our New Year's resolutions to help our kids build that mental strength from a young age?

As Michelle Obama puts it "Practice who you wanna be.  You don't wake up one morning and suddenly you are who think you want to be.  You have to put some energy into it every day starting as early as 3, 4, 5 years old."

The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.  It starts with you.

See you next week.

Yours Truly...


Monday, December 10, 2018

4 Ways To Train Like An Elite Athlete Over the Holiday Season

Like many people, I adore December. It is my favorite time of the year. The anticipation leading up to the big day is exuberating. My mother-in-law's famous pumpkin pie and mince tarts and my favorite holiday foods that taste good to the lips but oh not so good for the hips are worth the pain to be dealt with later. The family reunion that is both blissful and anxiety filled but one I've come to appreciate with age is welcome with open arms.

Looking back, it was not always like that for me as an elite athlete. Back in the day, December was an extremely tough month. The tennis season normally started at the end of December which brings me out of my off-season hibernation in mid-November into a pre-season training mode. We would fly on Christmas Eve crossing the timeline to another continent that by the time we arrived at our destination we know not what day we were in.

Because of the buzz of the holiday season (the shopping, family gatherings, the foods, the parties), it was the only time of year that caused havoc in my training regimen. Not only was it hard to focus on the preparation for the up and coming tournament, but I also could not let myself completely relax to enjoy the festivities. 

Over the course of my career on the tennis tour though, I learned a strategy consisting of 4 steps to getting the most out of my pre-season preparation and the enjoyment of the holiday season.  

1. Reflect

I used this time to sit with my coach to reflect on my performances of the year.  While there may be some painful events and/ or performances that I did not care to revisit, it was an essential step to moving forward.   

2. Reset & Rebuild

Once the tears were dried and the ego was put to rest, we reset for the up and coming year with goals and objectives; tournament schedule; things to work on to improve; performance goals; fitness goals; health goals. This was probably the most important step for me in helping me push myself to work on things; to be a better version of myself from the year before. 

3. Abiding by a training schedule

This time of year is easy to get sidetracked with all the buzz and excitement of the holiday season. It is super important to show up mentally and in person. We would map out certain days of shorter practices so I could enjoy the festivities. 

4. Indulge with pleasure

I grew up in Asia where food is the center of every event and discussions. So, naturally I love food and I have never deprived myself of any food groups as long as it is done with moderation. 

Beware.  Be Safe.  See you next week.

Yours Truly.

Monday, December 3, 2018

V- 5 Simple Strategies To Get The Most Out of A Coach - Strategy #5: Job Description

Here is a quick recap for the last four weeks.

We now arrived in the fifth strategy of the 5 Simple Strategies To Get The Most Out of A Coach: Job Description

Tennis in itself is a game.  But the programs are run as a business.  And parents need to learn to take their child's tennis development as a business.  

I know this may sound strange but think about it.  Is it not true that in the workplace, every position is held by a person with his/ her expertise and the responsibilities are clearly defined for that position?

So, why should your child's tennis journey be any different?  You, the parents need to know what your position and responsibilities are.  And the coach needs to know his/ hers as well.  

Have a plan.  Put everything on the table.  Do not assume anything.  So, when the storm comes you are both equipped to handle the situation.  The mistake I see parents do is they leave all the responsibilities to the coach and when the child underperforms, parents interject with their own thoughts and ideas which may be in conflict with the learning process and slows down the child's progress.

“Do today what others won’t so tomorrow you can do what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice

Parents, I urge you to be pro-active in meeting with the coach and spell out each other's roles and responsibilities.  Why you?  Because in my opinion, you are the leader on the hierarchy to the success of your child's tennis journey.  Knowing each other's precise role and responsibilities will save you both a lot of disconcerting arguments and aggravations.  

The coach might be apprehensive with your approach but one they will respect knowing you are making yourself accountable for your responsibilities which will build a tremendous trust in the coach.

This concludes the 5 Simple Strategies To Get The Most Out of A Coach.  Thus far, I was speaking from a coach's perspective.  The next batch of posts, I will be speaking from a different perspective.  

I hope my insights help you in some ways.  I encourage you to help me on my quest to spread the words if you could pass my blog on to just one parent.  

I would love to hear from you.  Please drop me an email at

Until next week.  

Yours Truly...