Play to win
16-year-old Harry Moore writes about his hobby, tennis.
My parents have always loved tennis and they’re members of a tennis club. My older brother was really good at it and they supported him – taking him to lessons all the time. So I guess when I announced that I wanted to be a tennis champion when I grew up I just intended for them to notice me. My mother laughed. She knew I couldn’t possibly be serious, I was just a 4-year-old kid!
Later, I joined the club’s junior coaching group and eventually took part in my first proper contest, confident that my team would do well. We won, which was fantastic, but I wasn’t so successful. I didn’t even want to be in the team photo because I didn’t feel I deserved to be. When my coach asked what happened in my final match, I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t believe I’d lost – I knew I was the better player. But every time I attacked, the other player defended brilliantly. I couldn’t explain the result.
After that, I decided to listen more carefully to my coach because he had lots of tips. I realised that you need the right attitude to be a winner. On court I have a plan but sometimes the other guy will do something unexpected so I’ll change it. If I lose a point, I do my best to forget it and find a way to win the next one.
At tournaments, it’s impossible to avoid players who explode in anger. Lots of players can be negative – including myself sometimes. Once I got so angry that I nearly broke my racket! But my coach has helped me develop ways to control those feelings. After all, the judges have a hard job and you just have to accept their decisions.
My coach demands that I train in the gym to make sure I’m strong right to the end of a tournament. I’m getting good results: my shots are more accurate and I’m beginning to realise that with hard work there’s a chance that I could be a champion one day.