If you don’t know who Harry Hopman is then I suggest you research and find out, as he is considered a pioneer of tennis coaching and one of the best tennis coaches of all time. He was the most successful Davis Cup coach to ever live!
I am going to tell you a great story about Harry.
When he was 70 years old he was asked to give a promising young junior player a lesson. At the start of the lesson he slowly strode onto the court with his basket of balls and asked his new pupil to take up his ready position on the baseline.
Harry immediately fed the ball into the tramlines and the new student stood dumbfounded – standing on the baseline having not moved a muscle.
Harry motion to the young boy to come up to the net and directed him towards his bag. He said that is the end of the lesson, pay me now and see you tomorrow.
The tears welled up in the boy’s eyes and, as Harry took the boy’s money, he said “If ever I feed a ball over the net, you chase that thing no matter where I feed it. See you tomorrow”, and with that the boy was sent home.
The boy came back the next day… Harry stood him on the baseline, said nothing, and fed that exact ball into the tramlines again. This time, the boy flew across the court and hit that ball back as if his life depended on it! Never forgetting the hard-felt lesson the day before!
The moral of the story is that when you get on that court – you must never give up! You must try for every ball and eventually that desire to chase every ball will be etched in your muscle memory. You will no longer have to push yourself to chase – your response will be automatic. That’s what makes a champion!