Tennis is Life


Roger Federer the GOAT

I am a bit of a tennis player.  Although I am not athletically gifted, I am a decent competitor.   I have taken a LOT of tennis lessons in my life.  I am often struck by how often tennis advice applies to life.

1.  Keep your feet moving

In tennis and in life, we have to keep moving if we are going to get anywhere. Few things are tougher than trying to get started after you have stopped.  It is so much easier to make your adjustments when you are in motion.

2. Maintain your balance

In tennis and in life, we find ourselves in awkward and unexpected positions.  Keeping our heads level and on balance allows us to react successfully even when we are surprised.

3. Get your first serve in

In tennis and in life, the first moment of contact is crucial.  Often that first contact determines the entire rest of the outcome.  A focus on excellent execution of that beginning pays great dividends.

4. Don’t let one mistake become many

In tennis and in life, we all make mistakes.  The key in dealing with errors is to isolate, understand,  and move forward.  So many times folks allow one miss to seep into the next moment.  We need to use the error as a lesson toward improvement; then we need to bury that error behind us.  We must never allow one mistake to upset us causing many errors and a loss.

5. Always change a losing strategy

In tennis and in life, I am amazed by the folks who fail to adjust when things go wrong.  Great plans sometimes just don’t work.  Adapt and adjust to the current situation.  If what you are doing isn’t working, try something else.

6. Always give your opponent the benefit of the doubt

In tennis and in life, most of the ethical calls are determined by your own sense of right and wrong.  In deciding what is out of bounds, give your opponent the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t waste time or energy trying to blur the lines.

7. Match your strengths against your opponents weaknesses

In tennis and in life, we all bring our strengths and flaws to the competition.  For us guys, we often feel that macho need to go ‘toe to toe’ with the other guy.  A smarter strategy is to use what we do best against our oppositions’ vulnerability.

8. Watch the ball

In tennis and in life, focus is the key.  The most common phrase from instructors in every sport is, “Watch the ball!”  It is just impossible to execute if you can’t see your target.

9. Play one point at a time

In tennis and in life, folks want to get to the end before they have completed the process.

10. Win the last point

In tennis the team that wins the last point wins the match.  I am not sure that analogy works perfectly for life; but when I meet my maker, I would rather have that last win on my scorecard.

Do you have any lessons that you have learned from play that you can apply to life?

The picture above is of Roger Federer, one of the best tennis players ever.  We often call him the GOAT.

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25 thoughts on “Tennis is Life

  1. kevinimills says:

    I don’t know what goat means but I like number 9

  2. DES Daughter says:

    Great post Harold and I am a big fan of Rodger the Greatest Of All Times 😀 I am convinced with his big smile at his defeat at the Olympics final in UK against a UK player that it was… mmm… you understand lol what do you think ?

    • I suspect Roger might trade one of the twins for a gold medal in singles. He has one in dubs. I think he will hang for 4 more years to take another shot.

      I do suspect that if he had to lose, Andy would be his choice in London. It was great for the game, and Roger understands that well.

  3. donfre says:

    Great points Harold. Loved every bit of it.

    I would add one lesson: Have fun and know why you’re playing.When you come into the mindset of competing with yourself for yourself, then you can forget all the external stuff.

  4. Ben says:

    No way…the greatest of all time was Bradman! 🙂

  5. George J Lloyd says:

    My good times in tennis are long gone, but I still like to relish about the “good old times” when I impressed my trainers with my forehand. However.. 🙂 Federer is from a different planet and your way to put Harold is very enteraining. I like what you do. Thanks!

  6. layanglicana says:

    Many thanks, Harold – I LOVE this post and have shared on Facebook and Twitter (no share buttons for G+ – are you allergic?). Now what else could GOAT stand for, let me see…God’s Own Always Trounces the opposition? Good On A Tank as well?

    • Laura thanks so much for your praise. I like G+ well enough. I just don’t know enough about WordPress to have everything set up quite right yet. I will shortly I hope. Greatest of All Times!

  7. I like the way you have used lessons from sport to apply for life, i’m half way through an article which compares rock climbing (my favourite sport) and starting a business, so this has given me some great food for thought. Thanks.

  8. Each sport can teach us many different things about life. American Football teaches us that we all have a plan until we get hit. We realize what our true character is when we get it. Some regroup and move forward. Others fold. We realize just how important our plans were to start with. Hockey teaches us that Life is uneven;deal with it. There are power plays in Hockey which allows one team to have more members on the Ice than the other team if some players are penalized.

  9. david says:

    good analogy

  10. My favorites are “Don’t let one mistake become many”, and keep your eye on the ball. The isolate, understand, and move forward technique is crucial to turning your mistakes into your valuable lessons that can reap benefits in the near future.

  11. David says:

    Not really into this stuff, I learn something new each day with an open mind, Good post Harold 🙂

  12. Merri I know that I learn much more from my losses. They are no fun, but they are valuable.

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  14. I am not certain where you’re getting your information, however great topic. I must spend some time studying much more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

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