Jump Levels in Tennis
My dad has always been my role model. When I was a kid my dad would always ask my brothers and I, what is the biggest room in the world?
Quickly we caught on- It is the Room for Improvement.
I’ve always looked up to athletes like Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Billie Jean King – who have all acknowledged the importance of jumping levels.
The idea of jumping levels means that everyday you should find a new way to improve yourself. Whether it’s a new workout, leaning a new skill, improving an old skill, try to do something new daily. There needs to be a sense of urgency, desire and focus to improve in some area each day.
Because our company believes in this idea so much, we literally trademarked the phrase “Jump Levels” (thanks John Smith) and it is written on the back of our t-shirts.
Tom Brands, an Olympic Wrestler, explained that you shouldn’t let a day go by where you don’t improve in some way- athletically, academically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, nutritionally, etc. All of these daily improvements will begin to manifest and multiply – and that is what Jumping Levels is all about.
Serena Williams explains how she increases her skill every time she plays an opponent even though she is considered one of the best tennis players in the world. She says, “everyone comes out and they play me so hard, and now my level is so much higher because of it.” Even though she seems to be at the highest level of tennis possible, she continues to jump levels because her opponents push her. Even a highly-skilled professional like Serena focuses her attention on jumping levels so you should as well!
One of the most common things we see in tennis is an over-reliance on “talent”. Many tennis players are talented, but those who are talented AND work really hard, are the only ones who will actually reach their goals.
It is very important to maintain a growth mindset. This way, your progress is not measured upon wins and losses. Grigor Dimitrov has been focused on getting better each tournament and his growth mindset has paid off. Not only did Dimitrov reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Cincinati, he won the title by defeating Nick Kyrgios in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.
Prior to the final, Dimitrov talked about his mindset and focus on the process.
DIMITROV: “For me, right now is just all about just going step by step and just building up not only my confidence, my game, to be able to do that pretty much every time I’m entering a tournament… Hopefully tomorrow [Cincinnati 1000 final] is going to be one of those days that I can, again, produce good tennis. But not only that, I just kind of want to make sure that I’m going in the right direction.”
The reason these athletes are successful in sports and in life is because they embrace the idea of Jumping Levels. They may all call it something different, but the idea is the same. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. The way to achieve greatness in tennis and in life is to seek constant improvement and always look to Jump Levels.
Challenge yourself each day, create new goals and challenges, look for new ways to improve. If you think you have all the answers, then you better start asking better questions.
Focusing on self-development and becoming a better person over time will actually increase your confidence on the tennis court. Knowing who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for, and staying true to that will increase your confidence in life, and will directly translate to the tennis court. It will show up in how you respect your opponents, the way you carry yourself, and you will know that win or lose, the match does not reflect who you are as a person.
There are so many facets to our sport and to life, that no matter how much time you have put in there is always another level. Strive for improvement each day. When you you reach your goal, start reaching for the next one. You could rest assured that it will be there.