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Why a sports mentor ?

A dream starts with you !

I was 12 years of age and I had a dream to become a professional tennis player.

My parents had just sent me to a large tennis academy in Florida, U.S.A. At first the academy felt like a prison, as all I felt we did was run all day for tennis balls, run some more and do exercise for fitness, then if I had anything left run some more to play practice sets.

Growing up with 3 brothers made a huge impact on how it shaped my motivations. I looked up to them as I often wondered how I was going to be great at something they weren't. It became my personal quest to find an angle of separation.

When I arrived at the academy I believed I was a good tennis player, my parents saw I was motivated and showed me off to my grandparents at two years of age proposing I could tap the ball back into their hands 50 times in a row. My grandparents responded " she will be great at golf !".

My parents thought my grandparents were crazy as they saw my talent in tennis.

After a few days at the academy I suddenly realised I was maybe not that special. At this point I had won an Australian Nationals, so it just didn't make sense to me. The main reason for this was because all around me were some of the best juniors and professional players in the world and till now I was only taking into account my country but not the world.

After practice one day, feeling exhausted from training in high humidity, for extended lengths of time, pushing new limits I didn't know was possible, I got a wakeup call lightbulb moment . There was a girl Hannah that lived full time at the academy, her father taught the academy school program and she trained alongside me often in my group. One day she said to me "Are you ready for more sets ? ". I responded "what do you mean as we just did 5 hours on court, another hour off court physical training ?" and I secretly didn't know how I could do more. She replied that the one's who want to become tennis players, play sets after training. Initially I felt overwhelmed with exhaustion, couldn't imagine how I was even going to find that energy and somehow I found a voice that said " give me a few days to get on my feet and I'll be there". Even though I pushed my training to another level I realised, right then and there I was not mentally or physically strong enough to believe I could make it as a professional tennis player.

When I returned to Australia I made an agreement with myself and devised a plan. I had decided I was going to challenge myself before going to school each day so each day I would commit to my plan and then follow on to my usual on court training. I added in my morning routine my commitment to becoming a professional tennis player and my plan included myself going to be by building up to 10,000 skips without missing a single one.

I must have been crazy many would say, I shared this agreement to myself with no one at the time and began day 1 by aiming to make 100 skips with no faults. To help me focus I put a statue at eye level on a counter in front of me, then promised to myself my eyes would not deviate or get distracted throughout and this was going to be my tool to make it happen. Over the year I increased my increments from 100's to 1000's and my other training did not decrease either. To allow for this I got up often at 4.30 am to finish off any homework from school incomplete, then started my skipping challenge at 6 am, then had breakfast, played an hour of tennis before school and then arrived usually just in time for school at 9am.Occasionally I got a detention for being late or wearing the wrong gear.

Believe it or not, my plan proved successful as I achieved 10,000 kips without missing and it usually took me under 30mins to complete. My most challenging thing was I found it wasn't the exercise of skipping, but the counting and ability to keep my head still with all too often distracting thoughts so my statue helped me not go off track and in turn allowed me to focus and keeping count of the numbers and get the results I wanted.

I now believed I was one step closer to becoming a professional tennis player and I could make a career from sport. My parents noticed my never give up attitude, understood my motivation to work harder and trusted that enough to open more doors and keep believing in me.

Today I am proud I can truthfully say

" I am able to skip 10,000 skips without missing "

" I am a Grand Slam Junior world champion and made a professional career from sport "

" I have completed difficult challenges and come out better because of it "

" I am determined, have a never give up attitude and dare to dream big "

My tips:

1. Dare to Dream

2. Be brave to challenge your talents

3. Face your fears head on and do the work.


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