John McEnroe Tennis Academy
  | By Dr. Tom Ferraro

A patient of mine recently asked me a very simple question: ”How do I go about building some self- esteem?” We spent the session trying to answer this question and trying to connect it with the ability to win on the courts. Here is what we concluded.

People win when they feel they deserve to win

►They can only feel deserving if they have some self –esteem; and

►They can only get self-esteem by knowing how to recognize their small victories and celebrating them.

It’s almost like one of those syllogisms you learn how to do in high school. Winning equals deserving to win, plus self-esteem, plus celebration. Whether you are a tennis player, golfer, businessman or a mother, you must try to learn how to celebrate your daily accomplishments.

If you want to build self-esteem, and thereby function better, do these two things:

When you practice, do not leave the court until you match a certain goal you set. Maybe that’s hitting 20 serves into the corner. In golf, it could be to hole out three bunker shots before you leave the grounds. This is called criterion-based practice and it builds in a sense of effectiveness or what we call self-efficacy. Businessmen can set a goal of making three calls in the evening before going home.

Also at the end of every day, take five minutes aside to be alone and write down your accomplishments for the day.

Keep this in a notepad next to your bed. Do this every night and make it your nighttime ritual prayer.

Dr. Tom Ferraro

For consultations, treatment or on-site visits, contact Dr. Tom Ferraro Ph.D., Sport Psychologist, by phone at (516) 248-7189, e-mail or visit