Mike Flowers blog: A Process for Improvement

April 28, 2017 07:30 AM

Mike Flowers is currently the head tennis professional at Court One Athletic Clubs in Michigan. Flowers played collegiate tennis for four years at Michigan State University and then began his coaching career, first as the head pro at MVP Rockford and then as the High Performance coach at the Midland Dow Community Tennis Center, before moving to Court One. In addition to serving on the Western Michigan Competition Committee, he is also the co-director for the 10 & under WMTA District Training Center for elite players. Flowers is writing a blog for PlayerDevelopment.USTA.com for the next several weeks. In his latest entry, he shares guidelines on how a coach can facilitate growth and improvement from his players.

By Mike Flowers

The following is a helpful guideline to stay on track to facilitate growth and improvement. It’s something I've learned over the years from great coaches and mentors. I hope it assists you in improving any endeavor you embark upon.

1) You must have a vision for what you want to accomplish...

There needs to be a clear goal and outcome in mind. For a recreational player, the goal may be to have fun or get a great workout. For a more advanced player, the goal may be much more specific and harder to achieve. No matter the objective, there needs to be clear goals set so all parties involved are on the same page and can hold one another accountable.

2) You need to create a process that will allow you to achieve your goal...

The process to make varsity on your high school team is different than the process of things needed to become a Top 10 nationally ranked player. It’s up to the player and coach to come up with a process that is in line with the individual's goals.

3) You must have the discipline to execute your process EACH and EVERY DAY...

This is the most important part and where most athletes fail. The players who reach the highest levels of their sport know how important it is to make the right decision about their training on a daily basis. They may not love every minute of it, but they respect the process and are disciplined in carrying it out.

There are two tough dilemmas athletes face on a daily basis: There are things you know you should do but really don’t feel like doing. Can you make yourself do it? And there are things you know you shouldn’t do but would really like to do. Can you keep yourself from doing it? For the best players, the answer is almost always yes.

Improvement should be a never-ending process. Think of your goals as milestones and you're moving along one step at a time. Don’t stop after reaching your goal. Use that feeling of accomplishment to help fuel your momentum to keep improving. Once you accomplish your goal/milestone, restart the guideline and look to create another vision of where you hope to see yourself next. Don’t waste time looking back or fretting over mistakes – you can't change the past, and it’s only taking time away from reaching your next destination.