What Tennis Taught Me

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by jc4.0, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Everyone on this thread seems to be so passionate about tennis, for a variety of personal reasons. I think we all get an enormous amount of value from the sport, and it's not all about the physical aspects.

    Can you share "what tennis taught me"? I'm not talking about "how to serve" or "how to hit a volley", but what you take away from the game, off the court, into your life. In other words, has tennis made you a better person? If so, why?

    Answers can be sarcastic, or serious!
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Good question (and welcome back, JC).

    I had never played any competitive sport before. It was eye-opening to understand more fully the pressure people feel when they play a sport. I also hadn't appreciated how difficult it is to focus and relax when you are so concerned about winning or at least playing your best.

    I think there was also some self-discovery about where I fall on the competitiveness scale. I kind of figured I would be a 10 out of 10 because I hate to lose at things like board games.

    But it hasn't been that way in tennis. If I lose at Scrabble, I lost and I am annoyed with myself for my crappy word skills. And if I win but played a bunch of crap, low-value words . . . well, a win is still a win.

    If I lose at tennis, it's OK so long as I felt I played well.

    Which means I can't be a 10 out of 10. True 10s can't stand to lose no matter what.
     
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  3. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Good question, it shows me who my real friends are and a good quote from Dr. Allen Fox recently: "The human emotional system wasn't designed with tennis in mind."
     
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  4. pdx_tennisplayer

    pdx_tennisplayer New User

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    I've been able to take my many years of tennis experience and provide tips/instruction to some of my other USTA teammates. This has helped me outside of tennis as I've been able to do the same thing in my personal and business life.

    It has also taught me to really appreciate the ability to compete.
     
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  5. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    Tennis taught me how to be a gracious loser and a humble winner. Other sports, though mostly of the team variety, don't promote those two characteristics. That's what makes tennis unique to me, at least.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You're judged by your mediocre days, when nothing goes where you wanted it to go, but it did go.
    Nobody sees your best days. Certainly, nobody remember's your best days.
    A lot of people actually recall your worst days.
     
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  7. saltair

    saltair New User

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    Tennis taught me this:

    Be willing to fail in order to grow.
     
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  8. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    tennis is like life in that you got to make the best of what you got and you don't give up until it is over.
     
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  9. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I am now learning a whole new raft of things as I watch my youngest son move into Tournaments.

    He is a fragile, sensitive young man with unrealistic expectations. Sound like a bit of a trainwreck waiting to happen on a tennis court? You bet. On the plus side, he really can hit a ball, but watching him and keeping silent and calm is possibly the hardest ting I have ever had to learn to do. (he is only 12)

    One of the other parents described the experience as 'like watching cage fighting with racquets, you can't speak to them, or help them, or have any contact at all, you can just look on in fascinated horror'.
     
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  10. ProPlayer

    ProPlayer Rookie

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    some times you have to back off to go further/faster (just like in car racing).

    The easiest shots are the hardest!
     
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  11. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    So I have 4 years to go before this happens? :) I had better start stocking up on valium now then ( for me, not him).
     
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  12. kelkat

    kelkat Rookie

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    Tennis brought me back to life. After a 16 year layoff, I returned to the game when my oldest child was 10. The previous 10 years were tough... I was taking care of my elderly mother, had 2 children on the autism spectrum, my mom's and husband's parents passing, and moving to the east coast from Cal. On top of that I had gained 85 pounds. Tennis made me feel good about myself. It was something that took me away from my worries at hand, and I awakened from the slumber i had been in. Now, 90 pounds lighter and much happier, I am able to cope with life's issues much better than before.
     
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  13. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Thanks for sharing. You reminded me that tennis has also helped me through some similar tough times. It has also helped me tremendously handle the stresses of my work which have been quite high at different times.

    About 9 years ago, I played weekly (for about 2 years) with a very disciplined man who was considerably older than me (65 at the time). He was in great shape, being a phys. ed. teacher and running marathons most of his life. He had gone through cancer, business failure and other personal losses. He told me many times: "never give up your tennis and ALWAYS make room for it, regardless of what's going on in your life."

    I have since been as disciplined.

    neverstopplaying
     
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  14. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    lol, good luck mate!

    It's tough, this one is the most talented of the lot (I don't think they read this!) but he is also the one with the most, umm, issues...
     
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  15. chollyred

    chollyred Rookie

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    Sounds like me watching my 10 y/o's baseball games.

    I played tennis through most of my teens into my early 20s, then quit for almost 30 years. Like someone else said, learning to be humble and gracious in both wins and losses when deep inside, you really wanted to smash something.

    Fast forward 30 years, I've learned that I suck at tennis, but I love the game and can still feed the competitive urges. I've also come to grips with health issues that are preventing me from playing better, but will also keep me alive to see my grandchildren grown. I play with a bunch of seniors (some 20 - 30 years older than me) and admire their spirit and competitiveness as much as their ability to keep moving and enjoying life.

    I guess I've also learned that while most people inherently want to play fair and honest, that the competitive nature will often cause some otherwise really good people to bend the rules (or worse) for a slight advantage. I hope when it's my time to check out, that people will remember me for honesty and integrity.
     
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  16. leech

    leech Rookie

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    Tennis has taught me to dig down and find a way to win, sometimes requiring me to alter my initial strategy. It also promotes teamwork and rewards hard work (eventually).
     
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  17. kelkat

    kelkat Rookie

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    Agreed. I am a fellow disciple of that creed :)
     
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  18. buruan

    buruan New User

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    Biggest lesson for me, never underestimate your opponent.
    I got steamrolled by guys 60+ who i thought wouldn't even be able to play for 20 minutes.....
    At the lower levels of Tennis, experience trumps athleticism.

    And I learned, for myself, that I will never be satisfied with my game, there is always something that needs improvement.
     
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  19. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    tennis has taught me not to take myself too seriously lol.
     
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  20. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I have learned that tennis is better than golf. Just as frustrating, but better exercise.
     
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  21. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Goes for me, too.
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Tennis has taught me that I am actually good in a sports activity, which was never the case when I was growing up. It is a kind of revenge on the guys who were far better runners and athletes than me back then. They have become old and fat while I keep growing younger due to tennis.
     
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  23. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Tennis is a great lesson in perspective.

    Sure, we take it seriously, we all like to win, etc... but at the end of the day, does it really matter how good you are or how well you played on the weekend? Let's face it, we all kinda suck at tennis to various degrees, or else we'd be doing it for a living.

    Tennis gives me the opportunity to put other aspects of my life (work, family obligations, chores, etc) completely out of my mind for a couple of hours while I exercise and have fun. So to me it's a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the time, money and health to indulge in tennis as a pastime. Given that, the main thing is to get out there onto the courts, have fun, enjoy, and appreciate.
     
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  24. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

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    Could not have said it better!
     
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  25. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    My two passions are tennis and poker. The difference between the two is that with tennis, I can practice my *** off and be a much better player. With increased study, practice, exercise and communication with more learned individuals, one can go from a solid loser to a solid winner at tennis.

    But with poker, you can study all day and all night, play tens of thousands of hands, play near textbook-correct, and still lose all of your money.

    Still haven't figured out which is more expensive though... ;)
     
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  26. leech

    leech Rookie

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    These are my two main passions at the moment as well (tennis taking over basketball after realizing that my declining athleticism no longer masks poor fundamentals). In fact, the tennis match between Patrik Antonius and Brandon Adams last summer revived my interest in tennis.

    With both, I play for the enjoyment and do not have a disciplined game. In poker, I splash around in many pots I have no business being in; I would be bored to tears if I played tight. And with tennis, I've tried taking lessons to learn proper form, but at my age (40), I think I'll take my chances living with the form I've adopted and spending my limited tennis time playing matches rather than practicing. I've come to grips with my limitations.
     
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  27. VaththalKuzhambu

    VaththalKuzhambu Rookie

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    When life throws you a lemon, make lemonade.
    When tennis opponent puts a ball on your court, push it back to their court.
     
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  28. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    Tennis has taught me about many cultures. On my mens team we have

    4-Guys from India
    1- Polish guy
    2- Vietnamese
    1-Taiwanese
    2- Chinese
    1-Cajun guy fron new orleans
    1-Puerto Rican -guy
    2- Other Americans
    and Me

    age range 26-76

    Every tuesday night we practice league or no league and we talk religion, politics,sports and life in general.

    we all travel pretty often and share our stories and my wife and I are even visiting Puerto Rico this summer and going to visit my team mates mother for a home made dinner.

    so Tennis has taught me with an open mind and mutual respect for others culture, harmony could exist amoung all of mankind.

    and when people talk about pro's not liking each other and rivalries etc...I really think for the most part the whole tour gets along and respects each other... one thing about tennis is it nearly always ends in a handshake. and for me the most important part of the game is that..not the ace's, forehand winners or bagles. but the mutual respect and appreciation to the person across the net for pushing you to challenge yourself mentally and physically for a few hours on a 78x36 ft court.
     
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  29. North

    North Professional

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    Wow. Don't know how old you are but if you are still pretty young, have a modicum of athletic ability, and you get the whole thing about willingness to fail in order to grow (unbelievably important mindset)...... practice like crazy because you could really excel.
     
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  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    #30
  31. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I almost fell out my chair.... I thought you said "tennis and hookers"...... :)
     
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  32. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Lol...


    ...I guess we could call that Ultimate Mixed Doubles, right?
     
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  33. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    Lol! My boy is by far and and away the best talker in his classes. Tennis is so so, but he could talk the ears off a wooden doll! I think my young fellow will major in politics, because he is always trying to tell people what to do and makes up rules as he goes.
     
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  34. saltair

    saltair New User

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    Thanks. I am old enough that I am passing that mindset onto my three young daughters!

    Just returned to tennis last year after a 22 year hiatus. Unfortunately I was a little too thick of skull to get this lesson when I was younger. Nevertheless if its a soccer field, a business, or a tennis court, being willing to fail is a huge deal.

    And this is a terrific thread. Love reading everyone's unique insights.
     
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  35. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Oh yeah much better than Golf.

    :)
     
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  36. TennisBeginner

    TennisBeginner Rookie

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    Tennis has taught me how to keep cool when Im not doing my best, and how to control my self under pressure.
     
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  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It has not taught me any of those things, because it is not of importance to me in real life, and I know it.

    What it has done is improve my health and made me an addict. Seriously, I cannot live without tennis now.
     
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  38. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    The value in remounting the horse quickly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
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  39. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

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    Whenever matches or hits get cancelled I'm a tetchy grumpy sod.

    Tennis has taught me that it is my out, my way of refocussing stress and keeping life on an even keel
     
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  40. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    I'll agree. It's been a nice read and I'm glad others feel as I do about this sport. There's much too learn from it.

    In general, OrangePower summed up my general feelings in that tennis helps me put much of the rest of my life in perspective. And, like Alchemy-Z, I've gained many new friends and learned so much about different cultures and stages of life. In many respects, tennis has kept me sane. As a new and very-late-in-life parent, there were many days I thought I'd go crazy. But having the ability to look forward to something, like a tennis session, often let me keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's let me keep a part of myself when the rest of my energies are consumed with others, namely my wonderful family.

    More specifically, tennis has taught me that winning is not necessarily success, nor is losing always failure. It's more than just a cliché that it's not so much the result but how you play The Game too.
     
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  41. retlod

    retlod Professional

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    Agreed. I enjoy the beauty of well-hit shots, long rallies when both players are trying to end the point, and the execution of a game plan. Fun tennis is chasing down the points instead of waiting for them to come to me. I like to keep the game on my strings rather than just wait for my opponent to make a mistake. What's the fun in that? I don't like pushers. I don't like winning ugly.

    I say play beautifully, win or lose. Live the same way.
     
    #41
  42. doubleshack

    doubleshack New User

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    Ok, straying a bit from the original topic, but somewhat related...a friend of mine is in the tennis industry and travels quite a bit. Before he arrives at a location, he calls ahead and see's if they can set up a game. So, basically he plays tennis with the people he is coming in to do business with.

    He told me that consistently, how the people behave on the court, is directly related to how they conduct business.

    I never really thought about it, but once he told me that, I started analyzing the people I play tennis with. And typically, the people I enjoy playing tennis with, I enjoying hanging out with. It has nothing to do with skill level, just do I enjoy being on court with them. So, tennis has taught me that how I behave on the court, is a reflection of who I am.
     
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  43. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    ^sports dont build character, they reveal it. er something like that haha
     
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  44. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    my most usual tennis partner was already big friend of mine before we started playing tennis for the kicks. we are now even closer friends.

    So yes... tennis can bring friends closer! it can also separate them. but it can work the other way too.
     
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  45. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I'll tell you what tennis taught me last night, I HATE ARTIFICIAL GRASS!!!!

    particularly against wily old dudes who hit everything flat or sliced..

    stupid game, anyway..mutter grumble..sniff....WAAAAAAAAAA
     
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  46. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    Tennis taught me that success is a goal you have to work for, not something you can earn easily.
     
    #46
  47. The3.5Ceiling

    The3.5Ceiling New User

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    What Tennis has taught me

    I would have to say that Tennis is probably the first thing in my 41 years that has actually brought me in touch with how thankful I am to be healthy...

    Every time I play, I just feel so fortunate that I am healthy enough to get out there and run around.....amazingly, I can't recall anything else that has ever made me truly realize what a gift that really is...
     
    #47
  48. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    ^yeah i know what you mean
     
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  49. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Couldn't agree more - you have my sympathies - those courts are as slippery as any I've played on.
    One of their own players last year was even complaining there was too much sand.
    We played on clay (dirt) last night.
    Same deal.
    My unbeaten record (in singles) crashed to a 6-1 blowout.
    Give me a beautiful hardcourt any day.
     
    #49
  50. MrCLEAN

    MrCLEAN Rookie

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    Yeah, I was going to say that too.....Tennis doesn't build character, it reveals it.

    That, and my favorite Rocky quote, in which he was talking about life, but it applies to tennis too.....
    "It's not about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward."
     
    #50

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