Bear Grylls, Roger Federer and an important story for parents to share with their kids

I watched a TV show last night where adventurer Bear Grylls took Roger Federer ‘into the wild’ in the Swiss Alps for a day of ‘survival’ and eating fish eyeballs!  I’m not a massive fan of the show but I do like Rodger Federer and I was keen to see what he had to say.  True to form he made it worth my while and it was good to hear him talk about his time in the Swiss Tennis Academy as a teenager.  The cool and calm Roger Federer we’ve seen on TV over the last 15 years was not the same person we would have seen when he was a teenager – temper tantrums and smashing rackets were common and he told Bear how much this negatively impacted on his tennis.

The key part of the story for me was that although he was still being successful as a junior, he recognised this behaviour wouldn’t bring success at senior level and if he wanted to reach his potential (which he did) he would need to do something about it.  It took him 2 years.  And I think we would all agree he’s done a very good job!  Even the great Roger Federer has weaknesses to work on but the most important thing I think we can learn from this story is how important it is that HE recognised this weakness could hold him back in future, committed to work on it, persevered long enough to find out what worked best for him and then kept working on it.

When you get the chance, this is a great story to share with your kids. What more could you do?  Ask them what they feel might hold them back in future in their sport.  If they recognise a specific area, ask what they are doing (or could do) to work on it.  Follow up to ask what they have done that is helping them improve and make sure you remember to praise their ongoing focus and commitment on an area crucial to long-term success.  And if you see Bear Grylls, tell him I said thanks!!

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