For years we had this book sitting on the bookshelf and this summer I finally got round to reading Andre Agassi’s biography. As a Mother, I was very affected by Agassi’s upbringing.  His father drilled tennis into him.  For many hours each day he was made to battle aginst the ‘dragon’ (an automatic tennis ball throwing machine, which his father had built for the little Agassi). His father had calculated how many balls his son would have to hit to become the best in the world and had then broken it down to a daily quota. And there was no way around this chore.  

Agassi played tennis for years, although he actually hated the game. Yes, he decribes it this drastically. Agassi  actually wanted to become a footballer. The tennis court was the loneliest place in the world for him. He also writes that he can not explain why he continued every day. Something had driven him to it, even when his body could no longer carry on. He was tormented from game to game. The desire to win was much greater than the pain. A grown man who had not had to do what his father dictated for a long time and yet he still did what he was asked to do as a child. Even he does not quite understand why he could not stop.  

How many people are unable to explain, why as adults, they act, think or feel as they do? This does not only affect top athletes or just the big situations in life but also normal everyday situations, such as a dispute or a small disagreement. As if guided by an invisible hand, the same patterns and routines run over and over again. People believe that we are rational beings, that we weigh up everything carefully and make decisions after careful consideration. But countless studies prove the opposite. Our subconscious decides and guides us through our lives. Stored in our subconscious are our experiences from the beginnings of our life.

This reinforces my belief that it is incredibly important which kind of experiences a baby has during the first few months of life. The comfort and closeness experienced by children who are babyworn, are etched into the subconscious mind forever. This creates a fundamental sense of security and trust. Of course this not the only thing a child needs to be happy and confidant but it is a strong foundation. Childhood experiences and feelings can be a recurring theme throughout life. Agassi's life story is certainly an extreme example, but basically that's what his book describes. Although Agassi knows that rationally what his father did was wrong, he still wonders why he is like he is. Therefore, we should use every moment to give our children love, security and closeness. And we should always keep in mind that this love is ALWAYS stored in the subconscious of our children and is available to them for a lifetime. 

Finally, I have to say: I understand nothing about tennis. I have no idea what a break or matchball is and I'm not and never was an Agassi fanatic. But I really enjoy reading books from areas that do not really interest me. This opens the viewpoint and is food for the (sub) consciousness.