The Yin Yang of Tennis ….and Life

As In Tennis So In Life


Something happened on the tennis court this week that got me thinking about the truth behind the quote that our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness. I didn’t think I was under any illusions about my tennis skills. I know I need to work on my backhand, strengthen my forearm, and work on a slice and drop shot. But I feel confident about my quick reflexes and net play and I am fast when retrieving balls. In fact, I am probably a little cocky about my “feel for the game.”

That’s why I was so shocked when I asked a player with great tennis skills who I have been playing with this last month what she thought I could be working on next to improve my tennis game. Unhesitatingly and with an assuredness that left me dumbfounded she replied, “Your movement on the court: your anticipation.”

“What? Are you sure you have been watching me?” I wanted to ask. “I am the agile, quick one, I wished to add.”

I did what I usually do when faced with an alternative reality to the one I am believing. I went home and mulled over her words. I started thinking about other people and their game because that is always, always easier for me. I saw how the strength/weakness divide was exactly true for everyone else: power hitters who need to soften and slow down their shots and placement strategists who need to work on more power in their game. Humm….

It is true I often let shots down the middle go to the person in back of me instead of intercepting them and I barely make some of the trickier service returns. And I am remembering during one clinic I attended the coach worked on anticipation and gave me lots of feedback that day. Maybe I do need to work on the way I move on the court. Perhaps feeling that I can react quickly has left me lazy about anticipating and less aggressive than I might be if I wasn’t relying on my quick reflexes.

And yes, as in tennis so in life. Just because I can react quickly doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t go out and meet situations head on at times or take charge of directing the movement.  My mantra is going to be move for the next while. I’ll let you know how it works on the court and off

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