By Jake Williams
When it comes to the game of tennis and its labors it is very easy to discuss the mental and physical aspects which take a toll on the body and mind. Any tennis player could tell you how physically demanding the sport is, and those who have played competition and have experienced nerves will also tell you how mentally challenging the sport is.
However, there are certain aspects of being a tennis player which are rarely discussed outside of the tennis community. It is important that these are brought to light as they can turn out to be some of the determining factors of a tennis player’s game; whether or not they decide to continue their career.
Like most sports, travel plays a huge role in an athlete’s career, tennis is no different. That said, with team sports you are travelling with more people which can make it easier. Tennis, on the other hand, is an individual sport and a lot of the time you may find yourself travelling alone. This can be especially difficult when going abroad. Not to mention travelling all that way to a different country only to come up short on the day and having to travel home can be incredibly disappointing. Unfortunately, that is one of the many challenges a tennis player must face.
As a tennis player you can constantly be on the road for weeks at a time with little rest, which can really bring down someone mentally. Which brings us to the next point: burnout. In layman’s terms, burnout is when an athlete experiences overwhelming exhaustion due to constant training and competition. Unsurprisingly, this exhaustion can have a negative effect on their motivation and overall interest in the game. There are many factors which can cause burnout, one of them being high expectations which aren’t met. As a tennis player you set yourself lofty goals in hopes of achieving them one day. Imagine training day-in day-out only to notice little to no improvements: it just isn’t enough and can cause a tennis player to lose all love for the game.
Earlier it was mentioned that some causes of burnout are unavoidable, and by that point most accept defeat and give in on pursuing their career. One factor that would probably stand out to many is costs. As an individual athlete there is a lot more to consider when funding your career. What’s more, at the higher levels of tennis you have an entire entourage behind you, coaching and aiding in your development. Some of the top 200 players are spending serious amounts of money on a coaching team, and at that level and ranking it’s hard to fund forever. A lot of players will consider a fitness coach, nutritionist, tennis coach, hitting partners, and a psychologist. To you, this may seem over the top, but for them it is all necessary in the hopes of being at the top of the game someday. Tennis is a very demanding sport and can take its toll on a lot of players, but it builds character and shapes them into the person they end up becoming. Without the challenges and setbacks they can’t truly develop as a player and learn from the experiences.