In this Part I, coach Marcin Bieniek, founder of Enjoy Tennis Blog, sheds some light on how to become a pro from a general perspective. You will learn how a tennis career has to be planned and what aspects it has to include to give ambitious players a chance to fight for the top level.
It is said that when you are Top 100 WTA player, you make a good living. Of course, other factors like marketing opportunities have to be included, but looking just at athletic performance, being among 100 best players in the world gives you a chance to focus on practice and competition without thinking about the budget. However, cracking the Top 100 ranking is a long-term process that has to start quite early and has to include many aspects of holistic approach for 15 or more years. Big careers don’t happen by luck – they are planned, they are a mission.
If you want to be one of the Top 100 WTA players, you have to be better than thousands of players around the world. Nobody will give this opportunity for free. You have to fight for it on a daily basis and then, MAYBE, you will have a chance to step on the courts in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.
Early athletic start, a lot of free play in childhood
Professional players need a solid athletic base. To progress at the beginning stages and to be able to deal with requirements of pro game, players need good coordination, endurance, speed and strength. It simply means that physical activity shouldn’t be done just during organized sessions.
Most of the time, it is the role of parents to make kids interested in various activities during their early years and spend quality time while having fun and performing more or less complex games with movement. It is important to understand that we are not talking about early specialization – kids should think of these activities as free play that doesn’t have the goal to “train” something.
Long-term vision, patience
The project of being a top pro player is a long-term process. The Nike company we know nowadays wasn’t built in a few years and a successful career won’t be too. To achieve the highest level in any area of life, it is important to take a look at your future and start working on aspects that will give you benefits in many years, not only here and now.
To plan your tennis career, you need specific steps to follow (physical activities), but you also need to be patient and believe in the final success (mental quality) to increase the chance of achieving your goals. Be happy with your current successes, but always look further to make sure that you continue to work hard to get to the next level until you become a champion.
Health: recovery, proper nutrition
Many parents and players value hard work more than recovery and health. Serious injuries don’t happen too often at early stages of development, but the more you practice, the more your body has to deal with. If you don’t put your health front and center, you increase the chance of having physical problems at the beginning of your professional career.
Recovery between sessions, proper food intake, hydration monitoring and relaxation routines are steps that shouldn’t be omitted for younger players. Even with great serve and powerful forehand, if you have pain in the elbow or you strain your hamstring every other month, you won’t be able to be successful on the pro tour.
Putting too much attention just on the tennis training is the biggest mistake that parents can do while seeing solid abilities in their kid’s performance. To become a champion, you need a well-prepared body, strong character, mental skillset, technical fluidity and tactical wisdom. It is possible to create a successful tennis career only when a holistic approach is implemented from the early years of development.
Let’s be clear. It is not easy to go pro and it is even more difficult to get into the Top 100 of the WTA Tour. However, there always has to be the next player who will join this group, so you should never doubt that you can be this next name. The process is long and complex, but knowing what to expect and focusing on daily requirements is a good start for anyone who has the desire to be the next Iga Swiątek or Emma Raducanu.
In Part II, Marcin will describe details related to budget, training volume, coaching, and tournament selection. The focus has to be placed both on general recommendations and implementation of specific factors to progress, go through different levels and fight for the points and trophies on the WTA Tour.
To learn more from coach Marcin Bieniek, join his on-demand video training program and get a 30% discount with the code WTBPROMO. Also, visit our Tennis Tips page to learn how to improve specific shots and skills, handle pressure, adapt your game to all surfaces and weather conditions, choose the most appropriate tennis racquet, best strings, and much more.