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Rafael Nadal With His Coach Uncle Toni During ...
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On Sunday I watched the men’s final between Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils in the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.  Since watching the best players is such a draw for me, I’ve been thinking about why that is.

My all-time favorite activity is performing concerts.  Professional tennis has a lot in common with that.

Nadal’s uncle Toni, who is also his coach,  said in a New York Times interview:

“People see the victories; they don’t see the obstacles…. Rafa has an approach which is very important and that is even if things don’t come quickly, he continues to believe they are going to come, and he is ready to keep trying until they do.”

You know, obstacles like the intense work required, injuries, fatigue, meeting the public even when you’d rather be at dinner or sleeping or seeing a movie….

In other words, it isn’t always fun.  I get it, and I’m sure other performers do, too.

Until they have gained a certain amount of experience, music students often see only the end result.  After hearing a wonderful performance on CD, it can be very hard to honor the process of getting there.  It sounds so easy!  When reminded that some musicians spend 10 years or more on a piece before performing it, they honestly can’t believe it.

But that’s what it takes.

  • Always practice
  • Challenge yourself
  • Celebrate your progress
  • Acknowledge your failures
  • Seek good advice
  • When you fall backwards, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again”*
  • Never give up
  • Always be gracious
  • Be ready for surprises
  • Be in charge of you
  • Know that you’re in it for the long haul

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

While you’re here, please take a look at my new E-book ~ “Goal-oriented Practice:  How to Avoid Traps and Become a Confident Performer” ~ make steady progress without getting stuck!

*From the Film: Swing Time  1936
(Lyrics by: Dorothy Fields / Music by: Jerome Kern)
Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

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