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It's all about you

Self improvement
By: Nick Bollettieri

Lessons, lessons, lessons!
You need more than lessons to be a winner on the tennis court. Yes, lessons will help, but they will only take you so far. To reach your maximum ability level, it requires sound techniques, a winning mentality, and to be in shape physically. Until you make a commitment to better yourself off the court, you will not be able to dominate on it.

Tennis is much more than striking a ball. When you watch matches you will witness all types of hitting styles, strategies, and, last but certainly not least, movement! Look at the top players on both sides – Federer, Nadal, Roddick, Serena, Venus, - they are all in incredible shape and it’s no coincidence that it leads to great results. Bjorn Borg said it best and proved it on the court: “There is no substitute for mobility.”

Mobility is something you can work at. Learn to arrange your schedule to maximize your time. Most people waste time as least an hour a day, and you really do not even need that much time to improve your physical condition. Take a close look at your daily schedule and see if you can spend less time on the telephone. Try turning off the television from time to time. Take 30 minutes for lunch instead of an hour. Go to bed earlier. To work in peace and quiet, get up earlier.

This is something I have lived by my entire life and still do at the age of 78. I have arranged my schedule so that I can maximize my time every single day. Now, I am not like most people. I have a motor that runs non-stop, but it is that which has driven me to where I am today. Here is a sample of my daily schedule:

• In the gym by 5am to do stretching, sit ups, and a light work out
• On the court teaching from 5:45am to 12:00pm
• Lunch (soup and salad)
• Staff meeting at 1pm daily
• Back on court teaching from 1:30-6:15pm

When your game falls apart don’t run to your coach, but review your daily schedule. You can fool others, but you can’t fool yourself. You owe it to your health (and your tennis) to set aside a few minutes each day. Once you find the time, it is not that tough to get in shape. If you can get to the gym, or work out at home, fantastic. But if you do not have the time or cannot afford such things, don’t panic. You can do plenty of simple activities that require little time or money.
Take a few minutes each day to jog, swim, ride a bicycle (even a stationary bicycle), jump rope, take a walk, or use the stairs instead of the elevator. You can do simple stretching exercises, push-ups, sit-ups, and other exercises at home to shape up. Remember, it all starts with you!

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