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Mental Fitness

Giving consistent and positive feedback
By: Simon Grieve

Mental Fitness
Once Upon A Time…….
There Was A Car Journey!
By Paul Dent LTA National Coach


In the car was a young princess and her father, the King. The princess had just returned from a long, arduous and treacherous quest for the Holy Grail, during which many of her skills were tested to the limit…

Unfortunately she lost!!!

On the way back to the palace in the car, there was a stony silence. This subtle silence was not there the last time she returned from an easier quest in which she returned successful.

“You might lose the match, but don’t lose the lesson!”

On one other occasion, the little princess returned victorious from an epic quest, not only fighting her own fears but also competing against extreme weather and fire breathing dragons. On the way back home in the car, her father, the king, in loving his daughter so much, decided to celebrate her victory by taking her to McDonalds.

On returning home from another lost quest, the princess was asked by a king from a neighbouring kingdom, “How did you do?” Before she could open her mouth her father was quick to point out a variety of reasons for her loss, from the dragon being bigger than her, to her lack of dragon slaying practice over the last few weeks. Along time ago, the princess would have been content to say that the dragon was simply better than her on the day, however, after hearing many of her fathers stories, she too had started to believe them!

“No Excuses!”

The little princess remembered one very difficult quest when she was ‘not in the mood’ and was beaten to a pulp by the dragon. She felt even uneasier when the king berate her more for the loss than her effort.

 “Great parents never focus on winning!”

After one very lengthy and emotional quest in which for much of the time it was uncertain as to whether or not the princess would return victorious; the king was so relieved when she eventually won that he totally forgot about his daughter’s poor attitude and lack of consistent effort during the contest. On returning from the battle he garlanded her with cheers, praise and a trip to McDonalds. The little princess was slightly confused but this soon disappeared as she tucked into her Big Mac and fries!

One day the princess decided to trick her father and choose a quest, which was very easy and did not test her skills. She achieved the challenge without trying.

She was so surprised when her father did not celebrate her victory, yet challenged her about her choice of quest and her effort during it. She never again shoes a quest that she knew she would successfully achieve.
Ironically, the worst quest to come back from was the one where she had beaten the dragon and found the Holy Grail, only to be given a quick
cuddle by her father and told to get a quick shower without being asked about what happened during her quest.
…and what of the moral of this fairy tale and quest for the Grail……

As the Kings and Queens, you must first ask yourself what it is you are searching for and perhaps what you will notice when your child has found it. It is then much easier to mould how the princess thinks about the quest and what she values on the journey… and ultimately what she sees as success. A wise king realises that dragons can be slain when the princess has little fear and only attends to and thinks about that which she has control.

By Paul Dent
LTA National Coach and Head Coach Educator For The LTA

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