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Sun, April 21

Howard: How the game of tennis teaches life lessons
My Point

Learning sports in general teach each of us a world of life lessons, but the game of tennis even more-so due to the fact there are so many ups and downs during a match, and in a close match it ain’t over till the last ball’s been hit.

You may be high after winning the first set, to get under-minded and lose the second. Can you pull it together for the third set - try hard every point, strategize, stay composed and give your best effort throughout the whole match?

Then after you win or lose and in a tournament of 32 players - 31 will end up losing. Only one will get that full satisfaction of knowing how much time, effort, hard work and luck it took to reach that pinnacle.

The rest will lick some wounds and hopefully come away with some knowledge of what improvements they need to realize, practice on and execute during their next go round.

The game is emotional as well as physically and mentally taxing. Staying in control of all aspects of your body and mind are needed through an extended period of time to maintain what it takes to hang when things get tough.

During a tennis match you are constantly matching your skills against your opponents - critiquing, responding, analyzing, tweaking - what’s it’s going to take to stay in the driver’s seat, to change the momentum if you’re behind, and when it’s neck and neck, relaxed and focused?

Polishing your total skills more than your opponent in practice normally will give the mental and physical raw grit needed during matches to survive - which is no different when earning success in any field of endeavor you decide to choose in life.

You may realize a series of failures, losing more matches than you win; you may apply and interview for the job of your dreams and get turned down or make it to the final 3 or 4 applicants and not end up on top - but you’ve learned not to give up. You’ve developed an inner strength, discipline and tenacity. In each match there’s a risk of losing and you’re willing to take that chance and deal with the results in a proper healthy manner.

You know from playing the game there will be other matches and you won’t win them all - but it won’t be for lack of trying.

Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who asked him if he felt like a failure when trying to invent the light bulb. Edison replied, I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. “And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts he was successful.”

The game of tennis is about making hundreds of decisions each match - a great training ground for life.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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