It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about work, family life or our experiences as an athlete - you get out what you put in. Work harder in the gym? You’ll notice a difference on the court. Take helpful courses to further your career? You’ll make more money. Clean the house more often so your significant other doesn’t have to do it?
I actually don’t know what happens after that one.
Anyways, the point is that life is dominated by cause and effect. There are two sides to every argument, and what is sport but a sophisticated way to argue with someone? Sometimes it’s with an enemy, sometimes it’s with a friend. No matter who you’re competing against, there will always be a winner and a loser.
Although in tennis, it’s actually possible to be both.
One of the appealing elements of tennis is that it requires constant action. You can’t stand still, and if you do, you’re likely to get dominated. This constant motion makes for tangible benefits fitness-wise - tennis is a great workout, after all.
The flip side is that if you don’t spend time managing your fitness away from the court, you’re bound to have a tougher time when the match begins. So even though the exercise is great while you’re playing because of the constant action, if you’re not up to it then it’s the constant action that can send you home in a huff.
When you hit the ball in tennis, your opponent is going to hit it next. Then you’ll hit it again.
Tennis players of every skill level love the competitive nature of tennis and the fact they (often) have but one opponent to play against. One on one competition can bring out the best of all of us.
The flip side of this, however, is that one on one competition can also awaken the worst in us, the sleeping beast that cares a lot more about competition than you might think.
For many casual tennis players - sorry, recreational tennis players - the social aspect of the game contains the biggest appeal. Tennis is a sport in which you can duke it out with an opponent for hours and then easily join them for a cocktail post-match to discuss the ups and downs of the game. Tennis players, even when they’re playing against each other, normally possess a shared sense of respect for their opponent because each is going through the same trials in an attempt to improve their game.
The downside of the social aspect? Only that it’s really easy to lose track of time. But hey, you need to have a life, right?
Finally, the hierarchy of tennis is a reality with which every tennis player is faced. We all want to beat the next player in line; we want to overtake our rivals and ascend to the top of the mountain.
The flip side? While you’re chasing the player above you, the player below is engaged in the same battle. There’s always someone on your tail, and this is true of youth tennis players who take the sport seriously as well as adult players who try to take it seriously. There’s always someone gunning for you, so you can either do everything you can to hold them off or you can switch your focus to what lies ahead instead.
Both roads work. It’s up to you to decide which one suits you better.