Responsibility, Leadership & Tennis
Tennis is an individual sport at heart. There is doubles and there are teams but during a singles match in particular we get thrown some difficult obstacles and asked some tough questions. Questions you sometimes cannot answer and questions that make you want to avoid the responsibility and blame something or someone else.
A tennis player who is at a tournament or competition match, is responsible for everything. This can include string, racquets, food and drink, reporting to the organiser and working out what court you are playing on. This then extends to working out some tactical fundamentals during the warm up of the game along with tuning up your own selection of shots. Once the match starts you are constantly adapting, shot to shot at times, as you respond to the dynamic and often random nature of a competitive tennis rally. You then need to keep your composure as you go through the highs and lows of the match. As your mind fills you with emotions and your body starts to sap your energy, then responsibility can be more difficult to own.
Tennis can also turn you into a spoilt brat. A tennis player who is so wrapped up in themselves and their tennis game negatively affects themselves and the people around them. I personally have had a number of brat moments (primarily between 14-20 years old) as my ego was bruised playing tennis and my pain of losing turns responsibility into blame and victimhood. Fortunately through my 20’s and 30’s I have worked through this to have a better mindset when playing. It is those who take responsibility for their results are those who have developed leadership skills.
We have all heard the expression that there are no mistakes just feedback and this couldn’t be more true than when applied to tennis. When your opponent hits a fast hard ball to your forehand and you shank it wide then the feedback is obvious. Prepare earlier, shorten swing and increase your level of alertness. If you get a kick serve out wide of the advantage side and it catches you by surprise with its height and impact then step in earlier and cut of the angle the next time it happens.
We are responsible for whatever happens to us. On a tennis court this extends to if you get tired or your legs started cramping then this is your responsibility and you can train smarter, more often or see a specialist to help with any problems you are having. This obviously goes for technical problems, strategy malfunctions, equipment condition, weather influences and other problems that are thrown at you during a match.
I like tennis because it’s all on me and this gives ME the power to believe that I can impact every match I play, however I definitely won’t and don’t win all the matches. I also like business as I have no one to blame but myself, as owner of my business. Taking ownership is something that I am sure I have learnt through tennis and now apply to business and entrepreneurship.
If we take ownership of our tennis game then this will give you the best way to improve and also teaches you fundamental leadership skill of responsibility.
So when you practise or play, take responsibility for what happens and learn from it. Also control the controllables such as your training regime, diet, equipment, warm up and knowing your opponents game where possible. There is so much unknown when a tennis match starts that is only responsible to prepare the best way you can.