More than a Game - June 28, 2021

tennis-manTennis is LIFE is not a gimmick, a clever slogan, or even a marketing tool designed to draw new players. It is a teaching philosophy that builds character through sports, in other words life skills from tennis skills. It is an understanding whereby the skills needed to be a top tennis player are the same skills needed to carry you through life.

The LIFE acronym combines the four key principles that teach players how to think, not what to think. It creates passion, responsibility and accountability for what is done instead of only focusing on results. This in turn lowers the stress often created by competitive sports while at the same time it builds a greater satisfaction in what was accomplished.

The key processes of LIFE are geared towards maximum performance. When players are at their very best the chances for an optimal outcome are at their highest level. This focus gives a more accurate assessment of performance while at the same time providing the means to achieving peak performance.

What is life? Our life simply is how we act in this world. How you think, how you do or don’t control your emotions, what is most valuable to you, how you spend your time, the aspirations you have …as time passes you will die, and your life becomes how you lived; this is what we leave the world. Did we make it better or worse? How did we impact those around us? What did we stand up for or bow down to? Were we selfish or self-less?

This is life and tennis should play a big part of it. Life is forming you as a person each day you live, whether you realize it or not. What you do on the court matters a great deal. Once we come to know that tennis is life this discovery becomes a gift. Tennis will then be used as a training tool to shape us in such a way that we will become more and more like what we were created to be.

Tennis is not about winning and losing it is so much more. In the tennis world of today this is a foreign concept. The reason it is foreign is that the scoring of the game has led players to the false assumption that the only accurate assessment of their performance is winning. In fact, winning has gone to such an extreme that it has put a superficial worth on the biggest winners in the game. The top achievers are valued more as people than the lower ones. In reality, this is simply not true.

The game is more important than the players; however, what the players do in the game matters a great deal because it forms them as people. In fact, sports should play a large part in forming people but we must start where few programs do, with the basics. The basics of all sports are the ethics and morality the athletes play by. The proper ethics must be TAUGHT. They must be taught often and always on the first day and insisted on each and every practice.

We all have a name; with your name comes your reputation. We don’t tell others our reputation we build it. It is built over time by what we say and do. The question is what does your name stand for on the tennis courts? Is it for a fighter who never quits no matter how hard the battle? Is it for a hard worker, a smart player or player with a big forehand?

Conversely does it stand for a negative image in other's minds? Are you known as a cheater, or a player with a temper? Do others look at you as a lazy player, or a player with a weak backhand?

The key is you are building your name each day? Are you building it in a good way or a bad way? Other people give you a reputation that is out of your control. You provide them with the data that they build it from, that is in your control.

We must train in such a way that each match reflects who we are and what we stand for. We must make sure that what we stand for is praiseworthy and glorious because only then can it give meaning and purpose to who we are and what we do.