Playing sports is a great way to learn about life. Many of us enroll our kids in leagues to ensure that they learn important lessons about teamwork, competition, and discipline from a young age. Tennis, especially, has a lot to teach us. In short, it’s a sport deeply rooted in both competition and friendship. For these reasons, tennis can teach us a great deal - not only about sportsmanship - but also life and love.
How? Below we have the biggest lessons that tennis has taught us.
1. Focus on giving your best effort one point at a time. One of the most beautiful things about tennis is that you can’t multitask. You have to focus on a single stroke at a time. Matches are won one point at a time, one game at a time, and one set at a time. If you focus on giving your all in each moment, you will play your very best tennis. In tennis, and in life, mindfully focusing on the task at hand with 100% commitment to your best effort is the way to both find peace and reach your biggest goals.
2. Learn to be honest from a young age. Outside of competitive USTA matches, many tennis games are self-scored. From high-school tournaments to Saturday morning round-robins among friends, you have to trust your opponent to make the right call and to be honest. The self-regulating nature of tennis teaches us that it’s not just about winning - it’s about playing fairly and approaching the game with transparency and fairness. In comparison to many other sports, where referees play a vital role at all levels, tennis teaches a valuable lesson in being honest.
3. A good partner means everything. In doubles play, a good partner can make you feel better - no matter what the score is. They can help to turn-around a losing streak. They can make winning feel sweeter. They can make an average match something that you remember for years. A good partner can completely change your relationship with the game - and a good partner in life (or business) is no different. Knowing that, it’s incredibly important to treat our partners (tennis or otherwise) with the kindness love, and respect that we ourselves feel we deserve.
4. It’s not about your equipment, it’s about your attitude. Tennis is one of the most accessible sports in the country. With over 250,000 tennis courts available for use - there’s plenty of opportunities to play this game. You can grab a tennis racquet used or for $13 on Amazon (or spend $250 on this season’s Babolat) but at the end of the day, your skills don’t just depend on the quality of equipment you have. Instead, they are determined by the amount you practice and your dedication. Our friend, Denis Indondo (an African Games gold medalist) didn’t even begin playing with a racquet. He used a DIY wooden paddle and was still able to hone his skills from a young age.
5. Take it easy on yourself, you can get a second chance. Ahhh, we can all agree that we’re thankful to have two attempts to make a serve. From Roger Federer to Serena Williams - everyone misses that first serve from time-to-time. Life is no different. We can’t be perfect all the time, and it’s important to remember that. So the next time your mess-up. Take a second. Gather your thoughts. Recognize what you did wrong and go for that second shot. Failure is what allows us to grow and the ability to learn from and move past failure is the key to achieving many of life’s great goals.
6. Life is better when you play. We all know that we feel better on the days when we get out on the court. When you take the time to get out, get some exercise and play the game - you end up feeling more joyful and appreciating life. Taking the time to connect with others, to play and have fun is one of the most important things you can do - both in tennis and in life.
Did we miss anything? Let us know what tennis has taught you in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it!