I began playing tennis around age thirteen, then I decided to continue playing when I entered high school. I was incredibly nervous for freshman year tryouts, but once I got to know everyone after a couple practices I became super close with the entire team. My coach put me at the #2 spot on the team, with the #1 being my Doubles Partner, Shelby, who was a Junior at the time.
Learning How To Lead
Then my Junior year of high school rolled around, and I became the #1 spot on the team, and I felt as if then I had even more to prove. During tryouts, there were two freshman that came in, one of them landing as my new doubles partner playing the #2 seed. At this point I really learned how to be a leader. Even though I was #2 my freshman and sophomore year, I felt as if Shelby was the leader, and I looked up to her. I then realized that I had to be the leader on my team, not only because I was the #1 seed on the team but also because there were a lot of new players on the team that I wanted to show this too. Being a leader means a lot of things. The big thing I think I had to develop was how to play the game in a positive way, whether I lost or I won, to not have a bad attitude or have bad sportsmanship, because that is not leader quality.
The thing I really learned over the years playing high school tennis was how to have patience. This is an extremely important part of tennis when it comes to the game in general, with my partner, and my opponents. Having patience in a match means to take each point, as a point. What I mean by that is that if you lose a point, it is not the end of the match or the world, it is simply only one POINT. Another way to inquire patience is by not rushing through your serve, and visualizing where you want the ball to land on the other side of the court. Lastly, what really helped me with patience while playing tennis, when I was down in a match or frustrated with myself, was to bounce the ball a few extra times before I served. Patience with my doubles partner was something I used to struggle with often. Mind you this, I did have a brand new doubles partner Junior year because my existing partner had graduated. Playing with her taught me not only to be patient but it also showed me how much I had matured, in life and in the game.
The Hardest Lessons Learned
This game will teach you things mentally, emotionally, and physically, and that is the best part about it. Tennis is one of the most mental sports you can play. You have to think strategically where to hit the ball based on your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and attack those certain areas. Emotionally this game can be very challenging or rewarding, and that is truly based on your outtake on the match. I think the reason why tennis can be such an emotional game is because you win or lose by yourself. When you are playing a singles tennis match, and you lose, there is no one to blame but yourself. You can have a different perspective on when you lose a tennis match, and that is by analyzing what errors you made in the match, and improving on your mistakes to get better.
Physically this game is awesome! You work all parts of your body when you play tennis; arms, legs, shoulders, back, feet, etc.
Overall, the best part about this journey for me was how fun the game is, how close the team got over the years, and the many bus rides to away matches and tournaments. Tennis is something that will forever be in my heart.