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Quick Mental Toughness Tip

Quick Mental Toughness Tip


I am an 11-year old boy ranked in the state and planning to become a professional tennis player. But I am not sure I have the confidence to do it. Do you have any advice for me?


It sounds like you have a long-term goal. But it is important to work on short-term goals now. Let's try to be the best you can be now. Let us keep climbing the ladder and progress one step at a time.

Don't set the bar so high that you have to be a pro. This is putting too much pressure on yourself, and this could make you feel frustrated and then disappointed and disillusioned.

Try to let yourself enjoy the process of improving technically and competitively in becoming the best player you can be at each level, and eventually you will learn if you can be a pro one day.

You only have control over doing your best each day and enjoying the process. It is important that you enjoy practice sessions and enjoy hitting and love competing. If practices are not fun and too grueling you are probably not going to become a great player.

It is important to enjoy the hard work in practice and the repetitions. Using variety doing different drills in practice can be fun and energizing. It is important at your age not to practice 4 hours each day but to come to the court each day with a plan focusing on improving one area of your game and start to enjoy the pressure of increased competency. As you improve technically your self esteem will rise.

As an 11-year-old it is important to have balance in your life and have a well-rounded life. In your teenage years as you progress you will spend more time on the practice court interspersed with tournament travel.

You are 11 years old now - there are no time limits. Keep grinding it out and enjoy the process in reaching your short and long-term goals.

Good luck in your journey in becoming the best player you can be.


Dr. Richard Cohen is a board certified psychiatrist who has won 18 USTA gold balls-national championships. If you have any questions or comments, please email Dr. Richard Cohen at; Photos: Geometric Photography; Hoi Pham via UnsplashThis article also appears in the July-August 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news. 

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