Greg Labanowski blog: Focus on what you can control

July 19, 2017 11:16 AM

Houston native Greg Labanowski (pictured above, second from left) received a USTA fellowship after graduating with a degree in business from the University of Southern California in May 2017. His first three years at USC, Labanowski served as a team manager/practice partner for the Trojans, and during his senior year, he was an intern at the USTA Training Center - West in Carson, Calif. Labanowski interned during the summer of 2014 with coach Craig Boynton and traveled two consecutive summers in 2015 and 2016 with John Isner. He will be writing a blog for throughout his fellowship and talks about the importance of focusing on what can be controlled in his latest entry.

By Greg Labanowski

Hi again! I am currently in Newport, R.I., and happy to write another blog this week on what a coach looks for in a player.
This is an area that an entire book could probably be written on, but I am going to concentrate on one aspect that I believe to be of crucial importance for a tennis player: focusing on what you can control. I think this is a subject that unfortunately does not get the respect and attention it deserves in our game.

Think about the things you can control in your life – sometimes they may not feel like much! Many athletes fall prey to always focusing on the result. Did they win, or did they lose? That mindset hinders their ability to get the most out of their game and puts their chance of being successful in jeopardy. I firmly believe if players focus on the things they can control and take care of them, the result at the end of the day is just a by-product, and it really ends up taking care of itself.

So, what exactly can you control? You probably have heard of this list before, but here goes:

  • Being on time
  • Work ethic
  • Effort
  • Body language
  • Energy    
  • Attitude
  • Passion
  • Being coachable
  • Doing extra
  • Being prepared

Those are all very general ideas, so I have come up with some additional important things that relate to tennis players. Again, this list is far from exhaustive:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Hydrating
  • Physical fitness
  • Warming up
  • Cooling down
  • Equipment ready
  • Maximum effort on court
  • Competing

I believe ALL tennis players can benefit from doing these things with the utmost professionalism. Focus on what you can control!

Just to make sure I am being complete, here are a couple of examples of things you cannot control as a tennis player:

  • The crowd
  • Bad calls
  • Wind
  • Weather (delays, temperature, etc.)
  • Sun
  • Bad bounces

When Mardy Fish reinvented his career, he totally rededicated himself to controlling everything he had power over with 100 percent attention and perfection. He went to bed at 9 p.m., he monitored every food and liquid that went in his mouth, and he worked with his fitness team tirelessly. I think American tennis players can look to the example Mardy set during this time in his career.

Thank you very much for reading. I am happy that the American summer swing is underway and look forward to checking in again with you all very soon. Go Team USA!