My Tennis Journey
My tennis journey began when I was in 7th grade, I opted for PE rather than a specific sport. PE was more geared for less athletic kids, but we often explored all different sports, one of those being tennis. My dad and I realized that there was actually a tennis center less than a mile from our house, Richland Tennis Center. This is where my journey began: I started off with beginner classes and quickly picked it up. I loved everything about it. The sport perfectly combines mental and physical. Once I played tournaments and really got a grasp of the sport, I experienced what I call "the honeymoon phase". I feel like every athlete goes through this phase which is the constant drive to get better, spend time, and have a positive attitude. That honeymoon phase lasted about a year, and then I hit a brick wall.
Hitting my first brick wall was incredibly jarring, I had just gone from tennis being a euphoric experience to hating it. I learned the basics of the sport and really wanted to get better, but mentally I was frustrated with the process. I felt as though I knew everything and had nothing else to learn. This mentality really set me up for failure, causing me to view tennis as a chore rather than something fun I could get better at. I would practice with the thought of having to get better rather than wanting to get better. This caused a mental spiral.
My first breakthrough should really be attributed to finding coaching videos on YouTube like Essential Tennis, TopTennisTraining, and the guys over at PlayYourCourt. These channels really helped me develop a deeper understanding of both the strategy and science behind the sport. I had been taking tennis so seriously to make my technique and strategy perfect. And, when I could not reach that perfection, I hit another wall competitively.
When I lost more and more competitively, I lost interest in the sport and struggled to find any enjoyment in it. During this time I chose to take a step back and look at the big picture. Keeping in mind that tennis is just a game and something I should enjoy, I got to the point I am at now. Just enjoying anything and everything tennis related including rackets, strings, coaching, and playing.