I am somewhat biased in thinking that tennis is the greatest game in the world. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without the influence of the game. Of course sports in general can teach profound life lessons but tennis is unique because it is primarily an individual sport but can be played as a team as well. Here are the top 5 profound lessons I believe tennis teaches. I think often we can get caught up in tournaments, rankings, team records, and college scholarships. If a child learns these 5 things from tennis, regardless how far they get competitively, they will be successful.
#1 – Develop a Strong Work Ethic
To be good at tennis it takes hours upon hours of training and practice. There is no magic or secret recipe. The formula is simply good old fashioned hard work. Players learn that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.
#2 – Dream Big and Go After It
Tennis allows children to dream big, aiming for the high school varsity team, winning a tournament, playing in college, and maybe even beyond. They then learn how to make these big dreams take shape in the form of goals and objectives along the way.
#3 – Learn That Setback & Successes Are Both Helpful
There will be both setbacks and success over the course of a tennis career. A professional tennis player was once asked what attribute was needed to be successful at that level and his answer was “a stomach for losing.” Children learn that successes are an opportunity to grow and build confidence while setbacks are an opportunity for improvement and reveal character.
#4 – Develop Perseverance
Perseverance is the virtue that allows an athlete never to quit, no matter how great the adversity. Children discover how difficult it is to keep going when things are going poorly, but at the same time are developing courage.
#5 – Learn How To Seize The Moment
Competitive players quickly learn the opportunity to take charge of a tennis match present itself quickly and can disappear even faster. It is a learned skill to recognize this moment and be willing to dive into it. Children learn that dreams and goals can be made but courageous action must be taken when the time comes to take advantage of an opportunity.
These 5 lessons happen over the course of a child’s long-term development in the sport of tennis and they take some nurturing as well. They are not always easy lessons to learn either but as with many things in life nothing truly worth while is typically easy.
After reading this blog post I hope you better understand how tennis has shaped my life for the better. If you are on the fence about getting your son or daughter involved in tennis I hope this provides some clarity in what tennis really is all about. If your son or daughter is already involved in tennis then I hope this reaffirms your choices. And if you happen to be a player go back and re-read all 5 of those lessons just one more time and be proud if you have learned any or all of those lessons through this great sport.