Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Become a Better Tennis Player Through Writing

Alex Millar | Towpath Tennis Member

Venus Williams states that, “Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even go out there.” After fifteen proud years at Towpath I have grown both professionally and personally. Creating a strong mental game on and off the court has allowed me the freedom to truly express myself as an athlete and person. As a lifelong tennis player, the most rewarding yet challenging aspect of the game is mentality. In life, its about trial and error and I find the greatest part of the sport lies in the individual challenges, whether on or off the court. In order to address the concerns I began journaling, and through that I achieved a strong and more proficient mentality. 
Longtime Towpath member
Alex Millar encourages play-
ers to strengthen their mental
game on court by journaling.

Journaling in many ways is like playing tennis. You are solely responsible for your performance mentally, physically, and emotionally. You leave your mark on the court and in this case, the page. While in tennis you trade shots with your opponent, journaling requires one to trade the racket for the pen. Rallying your thoughts back and forth between yourself and the page. Think of journaling as the practice match for the mental game of life.  

This is how I think, journaling daily is a mental practice of life and of tennis. My method is to find quotes that challenge, inspire, and motivate me to question, understand and relate them to everyday life. It has helped me become a more critical thinker, concise writer and more importantly a stronger tennis player. The greatest benefit of journaling is allowing me to self-reflect on the person I am. As a new father this is something I wanted to pass onto my children. I want them to have an understanding of what thoughts shaped their father, and an offering the same platform to develop the same skills I have instilled in myself. 

Available for purchase at
As my hand writing is notoriously poor, I found abandoning my journals was not an option. Instead I compiled a journal of my top quotes, the ones which influenced and impacted me the most. After that I created a journal quote book titled, Your Thoughts Through Their Words: Daily Quotation Guide Journaling. The best part of my book is each day for a year the reader is set with a quote and an engaging writers prompt. Allow this book to challenge your mind. Personally, I consider the quote as an analogy for a net, and the opponent is the quote/prompt or both if you feel like playing some Australian doubles.  

Towpath will remain my home for Tennis. As a contributor to the community I would like to extend an offer for all readers to access my journal for personal reflection and mental practice at Towpath. Remember to support the club that supports all in the game of tennis in and around Northeast Ohio. Copies are $15, or 2/$20 at Towpath Tennis Center. Another option is purchasing through Amazon though I recommend supporting the club that supports us all in our tennis, and is foundation for the Akron and Northeast Ohio community.

Alex with his wife, Yuriko, and
their 2 kids. 
My sincere hope is this journal can spur self-awareness, discussion, and give you the edge in your next match whether on or off the court. This journal is your court, and make sure you leave it all on it.

(Alex Millar is a father of 2 toddlers (Anna and Chris), and husband of 7 years to his wife Yuriko. He is a USPTA certified pro teaching all ages for the last 12 years. Alex came up the junior ranks at Towpath and went on to play collegiate tennis at John Carroll, as well as abroad in Japan. His next journal, On Court With Your Thoughts: Quote Guided Tennis Journaling, is slated for publication in 2018.)

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