| By Xavier Luna

Many people view having a purpose as a reason for being. Others see it simply as an intention or objective. But in both cases, it gives a particular direction to life and–when pursued correctly–a tremendous amount of satisfaction.

Purpose doesn’t happen by accident
Young people often need help finding their purpose. Not because they lack imagination and ambition, but because they cannot see a clear path to achieving what they envision.

Parents, teachers and coaches can help tremendously, pointing out a path to follow. It’s crucial to first establish three criteria. The young person needs to:

►Develop a realistic understanding of his or her abilities.

Create an internal awareness of and interest in how these abilities could be put to good use.

Enjoy using the abilities in this particular way.

Purpose on the court
In the case of tennis, finding purpose presents a particular challenge. Chances are, an athlete begins to play the game without thinking much about it. Perhaps they were looking for fun, good exercise and a way to make new friends. Most don't have ambitions of playing professionally. But with the right guidance, this purpose can be explored and even achieved.

Players need to assess their skills–knowing where they need improvement, understanding how far their game can go and sensing whether they can enjoy the process. Coaches can steer them, using constructive coaching, regular match and tournament match play and additional instruction.

Five milestones along the way
Purpose also often revolves around “The Five C's:”

Competencies: Knowing one’s strengths and skills.

Confidence: Believing that success is possible.

Connections: Being around positive influencers who provide guidance.

Caring: Having a passion for the chosen purpose.

Character: A willingness to follow the path, even when it’s a little bumpy.

Once young people have a chance to cultivate these traits, they need a realistic plan for achieving their purpose, a grasp on how long it may take, a cheering section and a support network. Even when the path gets a little bumpy, it is well worth pursuing. We look forward to helping your daughter or son follow it, should tennis turn out to be their purpose!