“How To” vs “Want To”

I have been following the work of Steve Chandler for some time now.  He has an amazing way of making profound distinctions between one thing and another.  I recently listened to an audio he made entitled The How To vs. The Want To.  I could not help but relate this distinction to the development of a tennis player because it is so true.

Junior tennis players spend so much time taking lessons, doing group clinics, and hopefully playing practice sets.  They spend their whole entire career searching for the perfect way how to hit the ball, to serve, and to play the game.  In other words they spend all their time focusing on how to play tennis.  However, they are missing something more basic that is even more important than the how to, they are missing the want to.

Think about this for a second if a teenager does not clean their room is it because they do not know how to or is it because they really do not want to?  The answer is simple, they do not want to.  As a parent it would be highly unlikely that to remedy this problem you would give your child a manual or directions for how to clean their room.  That would be silly because the real problem is they do not want to, instead you just tell them they have to or they are grounded.

Nationals Wall at JTCC

Nationals Wall at JTCC

So think about this deeply for a minute, if a player truly wanted to become excellent at tennis, finding out how to do so would actually become quite easy.  The real key to success is the burning desire to want to become excellent.  It would be easy to find how to instruction on the internet, take a lesson, or even just follow this free blog.  Players and parents search all over for the best instruction in the world of tennis but are failing to see the most important part of the puzzle which is the want to.  Think about the greatest players of all time like Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Novak Djkovic, and Rafael Nadal, certainly they know how to play tennis but more importantly they wanted to be #1 in the world much much more than most others.

So as a coach I approach getting my players to discover how critical the want to is in two different ways.  First, I ask my players if they absolutely had to become excellent at tennis or win a tournament or else something terrible would happen to them what would they do?  When they really think about if they absolutely had to get really good at tennis all kinds of ideas come to mind like they would do extra practice, get strength workouts done in the morning before school, study professional matches, read books, and stop wasting time on their phone and use that time to get better.  It is amazing what they come up with when they absolutely would have to get better at tennis.  Second, I ask them what they would do if I guaranteed them a $1,000,000 if they would win a big tournament 6 months from now?  Again all kinds of unique answers come up on how they would prepare to ensure they won and received the million dollars.  Those two scenarios put the emphasis on the want to and the how to easily comes into focus.

Then I ask them if it is really that they do not know how to become excellent at tennis or win their next tournament?  Or is it that they really do not want to become that good at tennis badly enough?  If you think back to a time in your life that you really wanted something badly enough you probably figured out how to make it a reality.  I can think of many instances in my life where this was the case.  I am not saying it was easy but if you really have the want to it became easy to find the how to.

Finally, Steve Chandler was nice enough to give me permission to give you FREE access to his audio recording How To vs. Want To.  Just click the link, download, and enjoy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *