What Non-Tennis Players Don’t Know
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What Non-Tennis Players Don’t Know

Tennis is as much of a team sport as it is an individual sport, and a mental sport as much as it is a physical sport.

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What Non-Tennis Players Don’t Know

After a decade of playing tennis, the two most important things I've learned is that tennis is a sport of teamwork, and also a sport of the mind.

Many believe tennis to be an individual game: players competing in tournaments and matches in order to gain wins and improve their record. However, the sport is much more significant than the record of a single player, or a single doubles team. In high school varsity tennis, out of 3 singles matches and 2 doubles matches, each worth 1 point, a team must win a 3 point majority to win the overall match. In the NCAA, collegiate tennis matches consist of 3 doubles matches and 6 singles matches. Winning 2/3 doubles matches awards 1 point. Each singles match is another point. A team must win 4 points to win the overall match.

Though members may be playing in solitude on the court, the support of their teammates is still very much a part of the game. A loss in any of the matches is a loss for the entire team, but more importantly, a win for any of the matches is a win for the entire team. During my time on a team, I learned about the importance of motivating each other and encouraging each other to achieve our goals. Improving the team's collective skillset is imperative to success, and is not something that can be accomplished individually.

A tennis match can be extremely mentally straining. Learning the sport is only half the journey -- one must also learn how to control emotions, stay calm and focused, and persevere when the opponent is leading in score. Tennis also involves strategizing every step and calculating the speed, spin, and placement of every ball. There were many instances in the beginning of my competitive tennis journey when I wanted to give up if I was losing. If I began to trail my opponent, all hope was lost. Furious and dejected, I would start making sloppy mistakes in my strokes and forget all of my strategic moves. Fortunately, over the years, I began to grow as a player both physically and mentally. I improved my strokes to the point where emotions would not interfere in my accuracy. I learned how to control my frustration and remain focused on increasing my score and applying and modifying my strategy as needed. I gained the mental coping strategies needed to persevere and make a comeback. My senior year, I played a match where my doubles partner and I lost the first set 0-6, but won the second set 6-4, and the tiebreaker as well.

Especially during a singles match, being alone on the court makes perseverance difficult. This is where teamwork and mentality intersect in the sport of tennis. The support of your teammates can make all the difference during a challenging match. Working together toward a common goal provides a sense of unity and family, and it is a beautiful and special experience to be a part of such a team.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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