Winning On & Off the Court
When Edmond resident Kobe Nhin hit a rough patch in his burgeoning tennis career, he didn’t let frustration win. Instead, the 14-year-old middle school student turned his attention to strengthening his mental toughness, a skill he hopes to teach other kids through his series of self-published “Grow Grit” children’s books, available on Amazon.
“I hope for them to be confident, carefree, calm and motivated and focused,” said Nhin, who will attend Edmond Memorial High School this fall.
Nhin, who’s been playing tennis competitively since age 10, had reached a level in his playing when he found himself struggling to stay focused and motivated during matches, especially when those matches were tight. To help him build confidence and avoid getting angry and frustrated, he began working with a coach who taught him the importance of mental toughness. Through this, he learned specific techniques and skills that he hopes to help other young people develop. These include speaking positively to themselves, exhibiting confidence even when they have doubts, and feeling equipped to not only overcome obstacles, but also use them as learning experiences.
Nhin has released three books in the series so far: “How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas,” “How to Win the World Cup in Pajamas,” and “How to Win the Masters Barefoot.” The title for the first book came from the techniques he learned during his own journey. “Playing without worry was one of the hardest things for me to get over.”
“It came to me when I was thinking about what it means to play carefree,” Nhin said. “Playing without worry was one of the hardest things for me to get over. Playing in pajamas means to not worry about what others might think. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, what matters is how much heart you compete with.”
The title also refers to the importance of visualization, something that Nhin uses regularly to help him hone his mental and physical skills.
“At night I practice deep breaths and I win my matches in my head in bed,” he said. “I can see and feel what each stroke feels like when I do this. It’s called imagery and it’s one of the things I teach in my books.”
Nhin self-published his books on Amazon, using a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds. His mother Mary, with whom he co-wrote the book, oversaw the publishing process. Nhin has been surprised by all of the attention he’s received for the books, and while the promotion aspect isn’t his favorite part of the process, he has enjoyed engaging with children at book readings around the metro.
For now, Nhin is enjoying taking some time off before he heads back to school. However, he is interested in writing more books. He plans to address other sports in future volumes, citing the importance of mental toughness in all areas of life, from athletics to the business world to everyday life.
Through his own work cultivating mental toughness, Nhin said he has learned to be less shy and to believe in himself. For other young people struggling with frustration or a lack of motivation, he recommends a very simple practice. “Just take deep breaths, and try to be as calm as you can,” Nhin said.
To learn more and to purchase Nhin’s books, visit www.kobenhin.com.