Secrets to your success in your favorite sport
I started playing tennis in my early thirties, and it was love at first try. I felt true passion for the sport. The speed, fun, sweat, power, and much more drove me to the sport. However, as easy as it seemed, I quickly realized it wasn’t easy at all.
I took scattered classes throughout the years, and, as expected, these weren’t enough to increase my knowledge significantly. I began to believe that I was simply not athletic and I gave it up many times.
As I became a meditator, I realized the capacity to focus was an important quality for life in general and for sports in particular. It’s funny how obvious it seems to pay attention to the ball; however, this fact is often overlooked by beginners. Looking at a fast-approaching ball requires more than a superficial scattered glancing. A new player will often miss because of lack of focus. They might think they’re focusing on the ball, but, instead, they’re lost in thoughts such as How did he say I was supposed to hold the racquet? or Where am I supposed to hit the ball? I then understood that tennis was more than a sport; it was a powerful teacher in life, and so is every sport.
Recently, I began private classes again, but, this time, I’m determined to continue. Erik, a tennis pro, said to me, “Wait for the ball to come to you; don’t rush because that’s why you find yourself crashing against the ball. You’re not giving a good space to extend and hit powerfully.” How does this guy know me that well? He had just described me better than my husband could. Interesting metaphor, I thought to myself. I had the strong tendency to begin projects with an excess of excitement and rush to reach my goals, resulting in exhaustion and making impulsive mistakes.
“Don’t grab the racket so hard, relax, when you tense, you lose power.” I’ve always been described as an intense person, although it sounds good, the word tense in it is also very accurate. I used to get tense whenever I wanted to pursue a goal, and often became rigid and impatient, almost as if a time bomb were strapped to my back, so I could achieve my goals on time. This behavior caused me to get sick numerous times.
“Loosen your wrist, find momentum, and just follow your learned pattern. Can you now feel the access to easy power?” What he was referring to was the experience of hitting back with lots of power at total ease and minimum effort. I interpreted as following the previously learned pattern with self-discipline.
"Read your opponents hitting patterns, and prepare for his play" I interpreted this as the personality patterns displayed by others. It gives you enormous insight to observe the patters of behavior of those we interact with, it helps its navigate our social environment.
I could see how all habits were embedded like a fingerprint in everything I was doing, and this was shown clearly through the sport. I use to spend my time stuck in thinking, losing the now, and losing focus on the things I wanted in life.
Making changes to unwanted habits isn’t an easy task, but it’s perfectly learnable if there’s will and determination, if we can just be wise enough to observe closer.
Teachers offer us opportunities to grow and improve ourselves and our quality of life everywhere we go. These opportunities are in our problems, sadness, or joys, but, sometimes, we get so focused in our problems and prefer to stay in a habit of blaming instead of choosing responsibility for our decisions or lack of decisions. One of these teachers I’ve found is in practicing sports.
Why choosing a sport to practice?
Choosing a sport to practice will help you to:
Stay fit and healthier, increasing longevity and wellbeing
Build your confidence
Make new friends
Increase your self esteem
Improve your teamwork and problem-solving skills
And as discussed previously
It will help you see your unwanted habits and provide you feedback on how to change them, if you’re willing to observe and improve yourself.
The only requirement you need is to make the decision today, set a goal to start, be determined not to quit. This is part of the evolution of a better you.