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BLOG: Can’t play tennis? Here’s how you can still be a bit like Federer

It might be (more than) two weeks since Roger Federer won the Australian Open – for the sixth time – but we reckon it’s never too late to marvel at Feds and see if we can’t emulate some of his winning ways.

Roger Federer preparing for a shot

We can’t all play like Federer, but we can set goals like the tennis superstar [Image credit: Neale Cousland /]

In his speech after the match on 28 January, he talked about the importance of goal-setting and having a clear vision of what he wants to achieve. It’s clearly an effective tactic – this was his 20th grand slam title at the ripe old age (for a tennis player) of 36.

Federer said going up against stronger and younger players meant planning was a crucial part of his game these days.

“I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be.”

Federer may be uniquely talented, but his strategy can be applied beyond the sporting world. Being clear about your ultimate aim and marking out a path to get there gives your dreams of success a logical framework.

In business, both short-term and long-term goals will help keep you on track. Having interim milestones is a good way to stay motivated and keep yourself looking to where you ultimately want to end up.

Obviously, the aim is to ‘win the match’, but if you initially think point by point, game by game, that final task won’t seem so momentous.

Perhaps it’s setting daily, weekly or monthly sales targets, or achieving a certain level of profitability – the point is to give yourself interim milestones to celebrate before you reach that end goal.

Making sure that these short-term goals line up with the final goal is also important. Think of the smaller goals as your support system for reaching your desired outcome, guiding your progress towards it.

As far as long-term goals go, make sure they are obtainable. While it’s good to aim high, setting a benchmark that is unachievable only serves to bring you down when you don’t meet it.

Instead, assess the resources you have, the actions you need to take and the timeframe you realistically need, set a goal that’s within reach and be prepared to regularly reassess it. As goal-oriented as Federer is, he probably didn’t set out with the specific aim of winning 20 grand slams, but it’s highly likely that became his goal once he hit 15.

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