Excerpt from Jonathan’s Book – Creating Tennis Mastery

At age 12 in 1986, I was the U.S. National Tennis Champion on clay courts. My friend and rival Vincent Spadea was the U.S. National Tennis Champion on hard courts that same year. Ten years later, I was near the bottom of the barrel on the ATP tour at number 968 in the world. Vince, that same year, was number 54 in the world on his way to wins over the world’s best, including Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Comparing Vince’s superior results next to mine pushed me to dig deep in my heart and soul to answer some challenging questions such as: How come people with similar results early in their lives vary so much in accomplishments later in life? Where could I devote my talents, achieve new successes and feel happy?

One main reason why some people attain greatness in their respected profession or craft stems from fortunate circumstances such as level of talent. However, the knowledge about what it takes to become a great teacher at something is not contingent on reaching greatness in one’s field. Because of the importance I previously placed on the credential factor as a teacher, a difficult challenge for me was learning to let go of the idea that I personally needed to be one of the best tennis players in the world prior to reaching greatness as a professional tennis and life coach and consultant. In time, I learned how to judge myself based upon my progression from past to present. I also realized that if world renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri could become one of the greatest tennis teachers without ever playing competitive tennis, then my tennis results more than qualify me to be a great teacher.

My initial transition into the world away from professional tennis though created a brand new set of challenges for which I was not initially prepared. Stepping away from old, comforting habits for the pursuit of new challenges was difficult for me. Despite maturing in many ways, it wasn’t easy for me to throw away my idealistic side. Could I have been one of the best tennis players in the world had I absorbed more wisdom around me, such as in this book? As much as I sought to answer questions pertaining to my highest potential in professional tennis, my mission of helping others in tennis became more important.

I have a passion for playing and teaching tennis. Writing a tennis book filled with decades of personal experiences and assistance from wise teachers helps me to help others. Tennis has given me so much. I was given a full, four year tennis scholarship to Rollins College, a beautiful school with a rich history. I traveled around the world competing in tennis tournaments. I developed healthy lifestyle habits and life-esteem for succeeding on and off the court.

I needed a lifetime of experience as a competitor, coach, mediator with families of students and student of the game to be able to successfully write my beliefs. The proceeding book on Maximizing Your Potential is about the philosophy and qualities behind maximizing your potential for tennis or any other profession or craft. This book helps people of all levels maximize their tennis by understanding the multiple skills in tennis and applying them through an action-oriented curriculum process. Tennis mastery consists of developing simultaneous technical, physical, mental, emotional and strategic skills, while mastering present goals before moving forward.

This book is a theory on the ideal means to maximize tennis. There are several ways to use the theory. One can follow the curriculum with relatively few changes. Ideas can also be absorbed on an as desired basis. Just as there are different ways to Rome, there are a variety of structures for getting there. Hopefully this book fills in some gaps for those whom already have a quality structure and support system. Without quality basics, maximizing your tennis is impossible. Even advanced players with superior talent and skills can lack the basic steps learned within the initial curriculum levels. Playing professional tennis was a major wake up call for me. It made me realize that I was someone with good talent and advanced skills without basic tennis mastery.

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