HOW PLAYING TENNIS AS A CHILD, HELPS ME IN BUSINESS TODAY

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Who is excited about Wimbledon? I am…

I started playing tennis from about the age of eight and loved everything about the sport. I continued to play competitively until I was around 17 years old.

When I was younger I loved playing tennis, training, watching tennis and playing in representative teams and competing at competition levels.

I believe that playing tennis competitively when I was younger contributed to my mental toughness and strength as an adult. It also influences how I conduct myself in business and deal with my clients today.

Playing tennis requires mental strength as you are often playing by yourself (not in a team like soccer or netball). You need to have discipline to keep trying even when you are down, you learn how to manage mistakes, accept responsibility, control stress and plan and implement strategies to solve problems. Perfect qualities for a business owner!

Psychological reasons to play tennis:
1. Develop a work ethic because improvement through lessons or practice reinforces the value of hard work.
2. Develop discipline since you learn to work on your skills in practice and control the pace of play in competition.
3. Manage mistakes by learning to play within your abilities, and realising that managing and minimising mistakes in tennis or life is critical.
4. Learn to compete one on one because the ability to do battle on court trains you in the ups and downs of a competitive world.
5. Accept responsibility by practicing skills and checking your equipment before a match, and by making accurate line calls during a match.
6. Manage adversity by learning to adjust to the elements (e.g. wind, sun) and still be able to compete tenaciously.
7. Control stress effectively because the physical, mental and emotional stress of tennis will force you to increase your capacity for dealing with stress.
8. Learn how to recover by adapting to the stress of a point and the recovery period between points, which is similar to the stress and recovery cycles in life.
9. Plan and implement strategies since you naturally learn how to anticipate your opponent’s moves and plan your countermoves.
10. Learn to solve problems since tennis is a sport based on angles, geometry and physics.
11. Develop performance rituals before serving or returning to control your rhythm of play and deal with pressure. These skills can transfer to taking exams, conducting a meeting or making an important sales presentation.
12. Learn sportsmanship since tennis teaches you to compete fairly with opponents.
13. Learn to win graciously and lose with honor. Gloating after a win or making excuses after a loss doesn’t work in tennis or in life.
14. Learn teamwork since successful doubles play depends on you and your partner’s ability to communicate and play as a cohesive unit.
15. Develop social skills through interaction and communication before a match, while changing sides on the court and after play.
16. Have fun! Because the healthy feelings of enjoyment, competitiveness and physical challenge are inherent in the sport.

Is it any wonder that scientists and physicians around the world view tennis as the most healthful activity in which you can participate? While other sports can provide excellent health benefits and some can promote mental and emotional growth, none can compete with tennis in delivering overall physical, mental and emotional gains to those who play.

All these benefits make tennis the ideal sport for kids to learn early in life. And, it’s never too late for adults of all ages to take up the game. The human system can be trained and improved at any stage of life. The key is to start playing now to get the most out of these benefits throughout your lifetime.