What Tennis Taught Me About Success

Welcome to this post on what tennis taught me about success!

Recently, I was part of my high school’s JV girls tennis team. The season started at the beginning of the school year and ended at the beginning of November, lasting for three months.

These three months were a blast. Every Monday and Wednesday, we would have practice. And, Tuesdays’ and Thursdays’ were match days. During practice, we would perform several different drills, play practice matches, and repeatedly do serves. All of this to help us win our match the next day. The matches were the real deal. Depending on the opponent(s), our matches would last from 45 minutes to three hours.

Throughout these three months, I not only gained more tennis skills, but also a bunch of beautiful memories and experiences that I will cherish forever. But, that’s not it. While tennis is a sport, it taught me many important life lessons to use outside of tennis and in the real world.

This blog is a way for me to reflect on the past amazing three months, as well as hopefully help you as well. If you play tennis, I hope you’ll be able to relate to the lessons below, and even if you don’t, no worries. As I mentioned below, these tips can be applied anywhere in life, whether it be career-related or personal development-related.

So, without further ado, here are 10 lessons that tennis taught me about success:

1. Self-awareness is important

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The first lesson from tennis that can be applied in real-life as well is to be self-aware. In tennis, you have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. This way, you can turn your strengths into your weapon and work on your weaknesses to make them your strengths.

By knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can develop a game plan to play your best game and defeat your opponent.

Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are in real life will help you be the best version of yourself and achieve your goals. Be sure to check out my blog on how to develop self-awareness as a teenager in 2021!

2. You are responsible for the outcome

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Regardless of whether you are playing singles or doubles in tennis, you are responsible for the outcome. You can’t blame anyone else for your loss.

I once lost a match against a girl who repeatedly lobbed to me. When I was driving back home with my dad, I told him that the game was stupid and it’s not my fault that I lost. He made me realize that I should own up to my loss and accept that it actually was my fault. So, now I know that I should practice receiving and returning lobs.

This applies to real life as well because when something happens to us that we don’t want to happen, we can’t blame anyone else for that. We have to take responsibility for our actions and try harder next time.

3. Stay grounded

The story starts when we’re playing with a ball machine and right before I hit the tennis ball with the racket, my coach calls out, “Stay grounded.” After practice, that phrase was in my mind for the rest of the day.

Staying grounded is important for your technique for hitting the ball, but it is even more important in life.

Staying grounded is “the ability to stay calm and connect to the core of who you are in the face of uncertainty.”

It’s also about not letting external forces get in their way and knowing that whatever happens is not the end of the world.

4. Don’t let anger take over

One thing that I found happens to not only me, but other tennis players as well, is that anger gets in our way of success. In a tennis match, if we get frustrated by making errors, that’s only going to negatively affect the rest of our game. Instead, we have to move on with a positive mindset, thinking that the tables can turn in your favor.

In the real world, we shouldn’t let anger take control of us. When we let our emotions control our actions, we end up doing stuff we regret. Instead, we should stay calm and think about what we are doing rather than acting in spite of what we are feeling.

5. Apply critical thinking

It may not seem like it, but critical thinking is a huge part of tennis. You can’t just hit the ball wherever – you have to identify your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, and know where you want to hit the ball so that they can’t get it in time.

In the real world, critical thinking is crucial. It helps you make important decisions that will impact your future, and it also helps you better express your thoughts and ideas.

6. Character counts

Throughout the past three months, I have realized that tennis really is a test of your character. Since there are no official line judges for the team, you get to make the call on whether your opponent’s ball was in or out. As you can tell, anyone could easily lie, call a ball that was “in” “out.”

I have played against people who would deliberately call shots out even though it wasn’t, as well as people who wouldn’t call them out even though it was.

But, it’s not just in tennis where character counts. It’s everywhere, every day. No matter where you are, every day is an opportunity to build your character and do what’s right.

7. Losing is part of the process

Throughout the season, I lost one singles match and one doubles match. I took these losses as opportunities to improve myself, and I believe that that is why I won the other matches.

Yes, I was sad that I didn’t win my match. However, I didn’t let that discourage me from trying harder during my next match.

Just like it is important to accept losses in tennis, it is also important to accept losses in the real world. Not everything will go according to how you want it to go, and that’s totally okay. In fact, when something doesn’t go according to plan, that’s when you grow and develop into a better version of yourself.

8. Consistency is key

There are two tennis players on the court, playing against each other. One player’s shots are extremely powerful, but they often go in the net or are out. The other player’s shots are super consistent, as he is able to get it in every time. Who do you think will win?

Answer: The consistent player.

The player who is more consistent will always win, no matter how hard one players’ shots are. Without consistency, you won’t be able to win the majority of the points.

Just like how consistency is important in tennis, it’s important in real life as well. Be sure to focus more on consistency than getting something perfect.

9. Never give up, ever

what tennis taught me about success

In our tennis matches, we have to play 2 sets, each set consisting of 6 games. If you win one set and lose the other, you then have to play a 10-point tiebreaker.

In one of my matches, I lost the first set 0-6. Yup, that’s right. I didn’t win a single game in the first set.

I surely thought I was going to lose, but then I changed my mindset. Knowing that I still have a shot at winning, I told myself to work harder in the second set. The second set was challenging, the score being 6-4. But, I still made a comeback.

During the 10-point tiebreaker, I won 10-2.

The lesson of the story is to never give up. I was close to giving up after the first set, but when I changed my mindset, I made a comeback.

Remember, it is not over till it is actually over. Unless the match is finished, you still have an opportunity to try harder and make a comeback. And yes, this applies to life.

10. Have fun

what tennis taught me about success

Last but not least, it is important to have fun. If I won all my matches but didn’t enjoy playing, there would be no point in me being on the team. Having fun is the most important aspect there is. Yes, matches can be tough. But, if you’re at least enjoying the game, that makes it so much better.

In life, remember: no matter how many tasks you have on your to-do list or how many things you have to complete, have fun with the process.

Take it easy and find joy in everything you do!

The Takeaway:

Most people believe that tennis is just a back-and-forth game where the ball goes from one side to the other. To tell the truth, that’s what I believed also when I was young. However, I quickly realized that I was totally wrong.

Tennis requires a great deal of mental and physical strength. Yes, mental strength comes first. You could be a great tennis player, but without the right mindset when playing, all that physical strength won’t matter.

These three months of playing tennis consistently not only improved my tennis game, but also my mindset on life. I have learned several things that don’t just apply to matches, but also in the real world.

To say the least, tennis requires a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to push yourself even when you are super tired. You have to be willing to keep chasing after every single ball. And, you have to be willing to keep going on, even when the odds are not in your favor.

As a recap, the ten most important lessons that tennis taught me about success are as follows:

  1. Self-awareness is important
  2. You are responsible for the outcome
  3. Stay grounded
  4. Don’t let anger take over
  5. Apply critical thinking
  6. Character counts
  7. Losing is part of the process
  8. Consistency is key
  9. Never give up, ever
  10. Have fun

As you can see, these lessons apply to the real world just as much as they apply to the game of tennis. I recommend scrolling up to see how exactly it works in both tennis and real life.

Even if you don’t play tennis, hopefully, this blog gave you some lessons to use in your future. And, if you do play tennis, I hope you could relate to this blog and use these lessons on both the court and outside.

For all the tennis players out there that are reading this blog:

I highly recommend watching this video: The Only Mindset You Need to Become a Successful Tennis Player

Also, if you want to practice your tennis skills at home, check out this TopSpin Pro!

If you have any other lessons that you have learned from playing tennis, I would love to see them. Type below in the comments section!

That’s it for this blog. Hope you enjoyed reading and have a great day!

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