I just came home last night from Tennis Camp. It’s my third year going to this sports camp in Amherst, MA and this year was a 4-day adventure. I love saying I “go to camp”. The reactions from people who have asked if I have any plans for the summer are typically surprised that they have camp for adults. Me, on the other hand, I think many adults could be happier people if they added with an annual camp experience to their calendar of obligation. Which brings to me to what I learned this year….
I love tennis. I picked the game up seven years ago and I am REALLY giving it a thorough try. I’ve taken clinics and lessons plus signed up at various clubs giving me year round playing options. I play on a tennis ladder every season, I recently joined a league and my latest, I’m now starting to look up specific tennis star skill videos to help me better visual what I want to look like/trying to do. Yes – I’m keen and I want this!
At camp this year I was on the court for 18 hours. We rotate through each of the ways you can hit the ball, with a 30ish minute focus per shot with a different instructor directing you every time. As you can imagine you receive a lot of coaching:
Weight to your back foot
Bend your knees more
Follow – through
Hit the ball sooner
Keep your eye on the ball
I could type 2 pages of coaching tips here.
Which amusingly is my point.
I can hear the various coach directives out loud. And through the level of conscious incompetence I have reached with tennis, about half these comments are also being said in my own head either during or a moment after the shot I have made.
What I learned at tennis camp this year is that I need to practice relaxing.
I would LOVE to be better at tennis and the pressure I have put on myself through this want was starting to get in the way.
At tennis camp I laugh. A lot. I do things wrong and instead of feeling foolish, I practice self-compassion, I relax, I breathe and I give it another attempt (yes… attempt lol!).
When I do this, the lens I am looking through changes, the grasp loosens on my racquet, the pressure lowers in my chest, and my follow through is better (for starters!).
This is the skill I need to bring home. This is the skill I need to practice every day both on and off the court. Self-compassion, patience, and perspective are so key in our everyday. Keeping these three things front in center for myself can make my every day better.
I’d love to be amazing at tennis.
It’s more important to me to enjoy every court time I have though, versus the pressure I have created on being better. It’s about the fun.
Just like life.
Happy Monday blog readers xo