Skill vs Motivation in Tennis


Jorge Capestany talks about SKILL vs MOTIVATION in the tennis player.

Responses (13)

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  1. Kay
    September 30, 2019 at 2:12 am · Reply

    Hi coach!

    I just heard my 13 years old son said he’s in the high skill/low motivation. I was surprised that he realized that about his motivation. During the match, he wasn’t always serious. It looked to me like he didn’t want to let his feeling to get there. He’s always nice, generous in the game. How can I help him with the motivation?

    • Jorge Capestany
      September 30, 2019 at 7:16 pm · Reply

      Here is how I would go about it. First I would sit with him and show him the video. You first need to see if he agrees he is like you say he is. Once you show him the video, then it just comes down to deciding if that’s the way it’s going to be or not. I have found you can’t force anyone to be motivated, but sometimes showing them the video and having them realize where they fall on the spectrum is really helpful. If they choose not to change, it’ll just be to their detriment but at the end of the day, you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

  2. Jane
    March 7, 2017 at 10:30 pm · Reply

    Thanks Jorge,

    Great way to point out how athletes perceive themselves and the effect it has on their advancement or growth while receiving coaching. I will be using this in the near future. I work with other coaches of different sports and this applies as well. Much Appreciation.


  3. Frank Sacks
    March 3, 2017 at 8:11 pm · Reply

    Hi Jorge,

    As usual, nice work on this video. As a coach and teaching professional for for more than 38 years, I seem to work with students that are most often in 3 categories, low skill-low motivation, high skill-low motivation, or low skill-high motivation. The opportunity to work with students that belong to high skill-high motivation category is less frequent if not rare. I agree that the student with low skill but highly motivated are so much fun because it is far easier to develop skills than motivation. Best regards to you and your family.

    Frank Sacks USPTA/PTR
    Midwest Tennis Programs, LLC

  4. Ciro Sepúlveda
    March 3, 2017 at 12:43 pm · Reply

    Help full video Jorge 🤗
    Thank you very much 😇

  5. Larry
    March 3, 2017 at 8:27 am · Reply

    Just starting my spring high school JV team, and this will be VERY helpful determining my group.

    • Jorge Capestany
      March 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm · Reply

      Sweet, I hope is goes well coach.

  6. Huntley
    March 3, 2017 at 12:50 am · Reply

    Jorge, as a high school coach, you have nailed it again for me! This information is sooo useful! To motivate players with any of the above skills is very helpful especially when they see something like this on a chalkboard and have this discussion with them, both collectively or individually, it only brings out their honesty. Thanks!

    • Jorge Capestany
      March 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm · Reply

      Thanks Huntley!!

  7. Ravi Shankar
    March 2, 2017 at 9:36 pm · Reply

    Hi Jorge!

    Another fascinating video! Thank you so much for making it available to us, on your own time for free.

    When I first saw the matrix I thought that your talk was going to go in a different direction where low motivation = (more or less) less time to practice and that what you were going to talk about was – if I am a rec player which of these categories do I fall into? The 64 million dolllar follow up question is this: How should each category approach their tennis? So here is my stab at it (I’m a rec player so this was just a bit of fun for me, but a really interesting question).

    1. Low Time / Low Skill = You should just play ugly. Don’t try to go for winners, just keep the ball in the court. Don’t bother getting coaching because you won’t have time to practice and learning how to hit the ball ‘properly’ requires you to unlearn habits which will probably make your game worse before it gets better, and it won’t get better because you don’t have the time to practice.

    2. Low Time / High Skill = You should identify which shots (baseline, volley etc) you’re particularly good at and play to those in a game. Go for the winners on the shots you have a better probability of making. Probably not worth getting coaching for the reasons given above for Low Time / Low Skill but you might pick up some coaching tips which identify some technical fault which will improve some shots if you can get quick results from the tip.

    3. High Time / Low Skill = Get coaching now. (You probably already do). With your commitment your game will improve with time.

    4. High Time / High Skill = Is a combo of 3 and 4. Coaching will give you some quick results and identify some things which you need to work on which you are prepared to devote the time to work on.

    I would love to hear your views on the above not from Team Captains perspective (which I think is what your video was about) but from a Rec player’s perspective.

    All the best and thanks so much for the great tutorials!


    • Jorge Capestany
      March 2, 2017 at 10:19 pm · Reply

      Hi Ravi. I think your assessment is pretty accurate. The one thing I am always pointing out to my players (especially juniors) is the fact that between skill and motivation, only MOTIVATION is within your control. I want my players to focus on that and make sue that their effort & attitude are always top notch.

  8. J. Castillo
    March 2, 2017 at 6:55 pm · Reply

    Great Video!! Having trouble explaining this to my players. Will have them watch this video.

  9. Skip
    March 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm · Reply

    Very helpful. I coach a girls high school tennis team and can see how I would Place my players using this system.

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