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The Game Cannot Be Won, Only Played: A Lesson In Tennis and Life

June 16, 2018

This came from a great quote from the movie Bagger Vance.  I remind myself of this as I continually try to improve my game without comparing myself to other players.  Time and time again I run into a player that reminds me of my inadequacies.  If it's not my return of serve it's my backhand.  If it's not that, maybe it's my movement.  Something is always pushed out to the open to remind me that I still have a long way to go.  But then I started to realize something.  Where am I going?  What is the destination of where I want all my training and hard work to take me?  It became apparent that there was no destination.  No end goal.  Just constant learning.  Learning is growing and that is what we are built to do.  This is how I've now approached the game.  With the humbleness to know that there is no way to master the sport but there is a way to master playing the sport.  Slow down the matches you play.  Take in the feelings of competition and sheer enjoyment for having the opportunity to run around and chase a fuzzy ball around.  This started become clear but I didn't see the connection with life until recently....

 

The Connection To Life

In the book, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck, author Mark Manson makes a great case for us NOT to chase happiness.  He explains that the pursuit of happiness can only be done with the assumption that you're not happy in the first place.  This makes the pursuit of happiness a negative action.  It is constantly reminding you of what you are not.  Instead, focus on what you can control but also with the realization that life can suck sometimes.  It's ok.  The more you can become content with the idea that life is not always going to perfect (as we constantly see on facebook and other social media outlets), we can start living again.  This is very similar to tennis.  Knowing that there will always be imperfect parts to my tennis game allows me to know that I need to stay in the moment and enjoy the process instead of chasing the end goal of perfection (which never comes by the way).  When you do this, something interesting happens...

 

When You Let Go Of High Expectations

When I started accepting that life was not going to be so grand all the time, I started to get the same feeling I did when I let go of the expectations of myself to be perfect in tennis.  The best word to describe it is "liberating."  Knowing that I wasn't in control of every possible outcome in my life (and my level of tennis) gave me the freedom to really enjoy what I already have.  Instead of focusing on the "road ahead" I stayed in the moment and realized that life is pretty good right now.  The very action of humbling myself for both my life and tennis goals allowed me to really enjoy everything I already have a bit more.  

 

Does This Apply To You?

I wrote this in hopes that I'm not the only one who has struggled with having high expectations and constantly comparing yourself to someone else. I hope the words in this blog has given you a better understanding of what true happiness is; on and off the court.  Best wishes for a happier and less frustrating tennis playing!  

 

Here's some tips on putting the past video on "loading" into play on the tennis court

 

 

 

 

 

 

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