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Nick’s Notes: Bollettieri on building and maintaining character on court
Late coach Nick Bollettieri waxed poetic on the importance of character in an exclusive look at his coaching notes.
Published Jan 02, 2023
In memory of Nick Bollettieri, TENNIS.com proudly presents “Nick’s Notes,” an exclusive look at tips, tricks, and takes written by one of the greatest coaches of the modern era.
Today, we’re sharing Bollettieri’s thoughts on maintaining character, on and off the court:
As I travel the world giving clinics and motivational messages I have found that talking about character is of high interest to people of all ages and in all walks of life. To begin with, the world seems to be going in many different directions. No matter who you are, your character will have a positive or negative impact on everything you do. One cannot hide from today’s world but with good character you will be better prepared for the things that will confront you. Here are some ways your character will be tested:
1. Critics: There will always be critics. Listen to what they say, and if there is value accept it. Never argue with a critic but let your actions and what you do the talking for you. My father told me if people are talking about me they are thinking about me. He told me to just say “thank you”.
2. Honesty: I am sure all of us are guilty of telling little white fibs. No matter what you do, in the long run, the truth will come out and be the winner. Be on the side of the winner.
3. Effort: It makes no difference what activity you are part of, whether sports, business, family activities, etc. In my mind you have two winners. The first are those that win by the scoreboard. For example, those who win the game, sell the most cars, houses, insurance policies, etc. The other winner(s) are those that have done everything they could have possibly done to win, and then even more, but came in second place. It is my opinion that both groups are real winners.
4. Respect: At times we can take things for granted and feel we are owed certain privileges, whether it be respect, comforts, privileges, etc. I’ve found it’s much healthier to adjust that mindset and have an attitude of being thankful and grateful for all of the things you have. Don’t feel that anything should be given to you or is owed to you.
5. Responsibility: Yes, I feel certain many of you will quickly go to the forefront to accept praise and acknowledgement when it’s given out. But will you also take responsibility when there is failure?
6. Sharing: Wow–I’m sure you have heard it’s better to give than to receive. When you’ve given, and given anonymously, you will understand how true this is. The giver is given the real gift.
Do not sell your character away for anything. There are many temptations in the world today and our character will also be tested by adversity, difficult situations you have no control over, people who change their minds and put down your success, etc.
To all of these say MY CHARACTER IS NOT FOR SALE!: Your character will be tested every day in every way. At times you will fail. Don’t be discouraged. That is part of learning. It’s up to you to get back up and try again and again until you do it. And you will do it!