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This Nike Tennis Prodigy Teaches Us The Importance Of Discipline

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We often look to people who are much older than us for inspiration, wisdom, and knowledge, but sometimes, it would do us well to turn the other way and get the inspiration and wisdom we seek, from those younger than us. If you listen closely and pay attention, 5 year-olds have a deeper understanding about love than you could imagine, and some 14-year-olds can teach you a thing or two about focus and discipline.


Meet Tanisha Kashyap. With just about a decade-and-a-half of life under her belt, she’s set her mind to and achieved much, much more than most people even dream about at her age. This Assam-native won the Under 14 Indian Championships to qualify for the Road to Wimbledon National Finals, and this is in addition to more than 12 other titles she’s won over the years. She is currently number 1 in India. There’s much to learn from this prodigy, and I was listening in rapt attention as she spoke. I think you should too.

Follow Through On Your Interests And Passion

“My dad used to play tennis and I would accompany him and watch him play — I found it interesting, so I started playing with him at the age of 5 in Assam,” she says of her entry into the sporting world. And just as simple as that, a love affair began. “As a kid, I was swimming and playing tennis, and at the age of 10, I decided to choose tennis, even though I liked both. I even won a National Gold medal in breast stroke, but ultimately I chose tennis because I had a lot of passion for the game,” she explains. Plus, she played with her dad who was her coach and he advised her that she “had to choose one to go pro in.”


Dream Big And Believe In That Dream

When asked if she knew from the get- go that she wanted to go pro, she said, “Yes. I knew it. As a little child, I loved sports and being outdoors and I felt something special for tennis. As soon as I tried it, I knew it was meant for me.” There is no goal or dream too big for this teenager. When asked what her goals were, she simply stated, “To be number 1.” She also wants to win a Grand Slam for India as a woman, because that hasn’t been done before.

Use A Sport As A Metaphor For Life

Tennis is game filled with so many variables and, according to Tanisha, “There are so many options about where and how to hit the ball, and so many outcomes of your choices, which is what’s so amazing about the sport. You play every ball like it’s your last point and everything is just so connected.” Doesn’t that sound like life in a nutshell? Her advice is, “You learn so many lessons when you take up a sport. It teaches you to be disciplined and hardworking and, most of all, to make the right choices. It gives you so much that you can apply to your personal life.”


Discipline And Focus Is Of Prime Importance

“Tennis has helped me to be disciplined, determined, and have really specific goals in life,” shares Tanisha on what the sport has given her. She’s of the opinion that not just tennis, but any sport you play helps you be disciplined and mentally tough. Balancing travel, practice, and school work is tough, because she practices 6 hours a day, but online school helps, as she doesn’t have attendance issues. But that’s no cake walk either. “With online school, you have no excuse, you have to do all the work. You can’t just skip the homework and do the exams, like you can in normal school sometimes.”

Strive To Be As Good As Your Role Models

Serena Williams and Roger Federer make it to the top of Tanisha’s list, albeit for very different reasons. “I like Roger Federer because he is very cool and calm on court. He is like art. Sport is emotionally draining, so it helps to remind yourself to be calm and collected, and not to let anything get you ruffled.” This is what she learned from him. And she like Serena Williams because of the aggressiveness and power she brings on the court.



Finally, Tanisha has an interesting way to keep her eye on the prize. She designed her Nike kicks with TK 2020 printed on them, to remind her every time she steps on court that even though it’s 4 years away, that’s the dream — to represent India in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And with that, she goes back to being a happy 14-year-old, while we’re left in awe.

Inspired yet? The good news is that there’s nothing stopping you from picking up a sport right now!

To keep up with Tanisha’s inspiring journey, follow her on Instagram. You can create your own custom iDs at

*This is a dedicated post in collaboration with Nike.


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