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.