Have you ever had a teammate, work mate or life mate who simply drags the group down? That one person who must be right or make it known a mistake was made? You know the person. You may even be that person. Tennis has an interesting dynamic for women recreational league players which magnifies the very challenges of competitions as the players have committed to teams and weekly matches.

Of course, I appreciate the correction of a mishap and make it a learning point when the intention is for the greater group’s success. However, navigating the seas of competitive adult women – and consistent feedback – can be quite tricky.  The team relationships varies in many degrees: best friends to casual friends to life long pairs that will only play with each other.  For doubles team of eight, everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses as well as every other teammates. This is my favorite thing about being on a tennis team.  We are united in playing  our best for the team.  Within these confines, we train together, practicing drills and having discussions of tennis theories so that – on game day – we are ready to play the greatest sport on earth. 

That said, clinic is very different than playing for the win. We may let a few balls slip by that we’d otherwise fight for on game day. Still, we work hard – conserving energy – so we can play hard. Now enter the team mate who drags the  team’s energy into the  clay. Rearing its ugly head, is the player who doesn’t quite understand what a team is all about.  We bite our tongues at their foot stomping. We say a quick pray to not be paired with them or worst yet scrimmage against them during clinic.  But You know what is coming next and it is not fun! 

What to do in this predicament ? How do you not punch this domineering angel in the face? NO PUNCHING IN TENNIS!  Well guess what ??? This is very much part of the game – and of life. In the face of challenge, you must keep your game on point.  Your mindfulness and steadfast will keep you playing well, and maybe even give you space to encourage this individual and shift change in the process. Take a moment to collect yourself. Stand up and play on – and perhaps this angel will take notice. 

The take away: Competition draws out energy – different kinds from different people. Hold fast to what brought you to the game, and play with Sport Confidence. 

Play on,