TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


November 7, 2017

“Win again then win again like Wimbledon I serve”

christy column pic

Rallying a ball back and forth seems pretty straightforward, but the lessons I’ve gained from playing tennis are priceless. Being an athlete requires determination and high caliber, something I wasn’t sure I had. In tennis, there’s a term for having a negative mindset that holds us back from scoring, dubbed “tilting.” Discouragement sucks, but what’s worse is when it comes from ourselves.
Timothy Gallwey discusses in his book “The Inner Game of Tennis” how the sport is composed of two parts: internal and external. The overarching message is that you are your own worst enemy.
Being able to slice the ball in is the physical part that comes easily. We’ve practiced it so much that it’s ingrained into our muscle memory, and it happens oftentimes without even having to think.
But what do you do when your thoughts interfere? Tennis is a quiet sport; you’d know if you’ve ever attended a match and tried to cheer for your friends that you’d most likely get a glare or two. It’s just tennis etiquette.
In all the silence, it’s natural to start overthinking. What if I lose this point? What if I double fault? What if this game determines whether we win or lose the match? The mind easily absorbs itself in “what if” situations, subtracting from the conscious energy needed on the court.
Gallwey arrives at a basic solution: relax. It’s a lot easier said than done, but positivity is an active choice that stems from simply relaxing and accepting things as they are.
If I’m my own worst enemy, doesn’t that mean I can also be my own number one supporter? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this applies to every aspect of life. We’ve all fallen prey to pessimistic thoughts, but I’m convinced that optimism goes a long way. When you put love out there, love comes back to you. (No tennis pun intended.)
Looking on the bright side is a much more preferable option than driving yourself crazy over trivial things. Tennis has taught me that nothing is ever as serious as we make it out to be.

About the Author

Christy Tan



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