Acceptance. What is its significance for tennis? What has it meant for me in the context of playing my game?
Ten years ago I took a class that changed my life in many ways, not the least of which was the application of one of its lessons into my tennis game. I often think of tennis as a microcosm of life; one reason why I’m as addicted as to the sport as I am. The lesson I learned was that acceptance is the key to having a successful and often winning experience with my tennis game.
In the class I worked through a process in which I created a possibility for the way I live my life. I created the possibility of being accepting– a way of being in which I accepted the opinions and beliefs of others and their lifestyles, and most importantly, normzplumbing I accepted myself and who I am. Being accepting is a way I continue to live my life every day that I can. It’s a way of presenting myself, of talking to others, of relating to them with no judgment.
I apply this mentality to the tennis court every time I get out there to play, whether I’m hitting for fun with a friend or competing in a match against an opponent. I face each match up with an open mind to accept whatever state of mind either myself or my opponent comes to the match with that night. I do not resist anything the moment I step onto the court to warm up with the first friendly balls back and forth over the net. I think to myself– I’m going to have a fun time with my opponent and my match tonight.
Now, you may be thinking, “Oh, come on. You may be able to control yourself and your thoughts, but you can’t control your opponent’s. Sure, you can have fun if your opponent is having fun, but if he or she isn’t, well then I’m not sure how much fun you’ll have either”. I disagree with this thought and this is why. If I go out onto the court from the get-go with an attitude of acceptance, that attitude can’t help but rub off on and turn into fun for my opponent. Okay, it’s possible, Tennis lesson Singapore but rarely, in all the competitive matches I’ve played, have I walked off the court at the end of a match with an opponent who had no fun.
So, how does fun come from acceptance? If I approach my opponent with no judgment in my own mind of who or what she is or is not, then it becomes unlikely that she will judge me. Of course, people judge each other all the time, so I guess it’s possible that she could think, “I don’t like what you’re wearing” or “I don’t like the way you hit the ball” or “I don’t like you shout the score” or some other similar judgment. However, if I think of my opponent simply as the person she is that day-angry, happy, excited, anxious, critical, serious, competitive, I do not let it affect me. Who she is that day is who she is that day (which may be what she’s like everyday, for all I know), but what’s important to me in that moment is to realize that I am fine with however she is. If I am out there having fun because I’m playing a game I absolutely love, then her own reasons for being out there that night do not matter to me. And, believe it or not, more often than not, if I approach my match and my opponent with an accepting attitude, tennis class Singapore my opponent starts to have fun with me, whether or not she started out angry, anxious or serious at the beginning of the match.
I can’t say that every match I’ve played over the years has been fun or has resulted in a win, but I believe wholeheartedly in the positive power of acceptance. I will never forget a comment one opponent made to me a few years back the minute we shook hands after a match. She said, even as the one in defeat that night, “I haven’t had that much fun playing a tennis match in a long time. Thank you.”
Her comment of appreciation that night touched me more than any other comment I’ve ever received from an opponent. I truly do love this game and there is nothing that has made it more enjoyable for me than playing with others who are enjoying it too. The power of acceptance is great. My class of ten years ago gave me a gift I will carry to my dying day.
My recommendation to anyone who is as avid a player as I am is to bring acceptance with you each and every time you get out on the court before a match. It will keep the spark and fun alive for you for years to come. And, it just may surprise you with a new winning streak. Enjoy!