More than a Game - November 2, 2021

tennis-racketTennis should do so much more than help players achieve better fitness, enable social opportunities, and create competition. Tennis can make you better in most all areas of life; yet this is seldom understood.  


The greater understanding players have for why they play, the deeper and longer lasting will be the affect of how they play. Passion for the game will grow and an appreciation of the game will be created. Players will train differently, evaluate their progress more critically, and define success more comparatively. All of this will make the game more enjoyable at all levels.


What is life? Our life is simply 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 an artificial 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.


Once this is taught you must move on to the next foundational element of sports. The question to be asked is, “What is more valuable, trophies or people?” People are by far so much more valuable than trophies; the comparison is night and day. When people are valued more than trophies athletes play totally different and this must be taught on the second day.


Athletes must be taught what is the worst thing that can happen on a tennis court? The answer is not losing but quitting or giving up. This becomes the heart and soul of using their gifts and talents to the best of their ability. They must seek to become the “best version of me” each day and quitting is ultimate enemy.


Players must be taught the spiritual aspect of who they are. How their mind, emotions and desires tie into who they are as a person. The knowledge and growth of internal abilities promote and sustain external capabilities. Therefore, a player’s greatest power comes more from spiritual proficiency than from external execution.


The bottom line is this, who you are on the court is more important than how you are playing on the court; how you are playing will be forgotten in 10 years but who you are on the court establishes who you will be in 10 years. Tennis is more than a game—tennis is life.