I just finished watching the movie the Karate Kid and I was reminiscing because it was one of my favorite movies, along with Ghostbusters, as a kid. Watching it now as an adult I realized how deep a lot of the lessons in the movie really are.
The older I get the more I look for significance in the things I do. I have evolved a ton as a coach over the years, with the help of some good mentors. In all the work I have done training athletes the most memorable moments have come not from the wins or losses but from the times when I have been able to positively impact someone’s life through my coaching.
Tennis has been good to me and not in terms of match wins, but in what it has taught me about life. Along with doing my best to deliver top notch training and instruction I also try to be like Mr. Miyagi and impart value in the lifelong lessons that come with learning the game of tennis. These lessons include things like developing a work ethic, dreaming and pursuing dreams, learning from setbacks and success, developing perseverance, diving into opportunities, teamwork, cooperation and so much more.
Many of these same lessons are taught in other more popular team sports but I think these lessons are very different in tennis because of the mainly individual nature of the game. This is a major part of the reason why I personally believe tennis is such an amazing sport because an individual competes for themselves, plays the game as an expression of themselves, and must have incredible intrinsic motivation and drive to reach the highest levels of the game.
If you are a parent reading this realize that regardless of your son or daughter’s successes on the tennis court there is no better game, in my opinion, to teach them so many of the valuable lessons they will be able to utilize to be successful in life. If you are a player and reading this, realize that there is so much more to your training than hitting the ball, doing some fitness, and playing matches. There are lessons tennis is teaching you every single day that you will not fully be able to understand until later in life.