Monthly Archives: July 2004

step into the ball, discombobulation

Friday mornings can be busy at the tennis courts. This has led to a newly developing phenomena known as “waiting for a court” rage. People waiting for a court feel a sense of entitlement that allows them to harass you and get very angry because it is their turn to play tennis. Today a man got very angry at us because we were only at 2-3 a half hour after he had started waiting. Not only that but someone had taken an available court out of turn. I got angry back at him and gave him the f bomb. Not appropriate. I should have told him to come and sit on the court if he thought we were purposely dawdling.

There are a few issues here. How do you keep from getting discombobulated during a match and when is it appropriate to get angry?

It might be an error you’ve made, it might be a stroke that is misbehaving on this particular day, it might be some jerk sitting on the bench glaring at you waiting for you to finish because it is his turn to play. Once during a chess match, my dog absentmindedly licked the toes of my opponent – that could upset you. How do you keep it from bothering you?

The first step is to get into the present moment. As soon as a point is over, start the preparation for the next stroke by taking a big breath or freeing your neck using the Alexander Technique – whatever relaxes you and brings you back into your body. After that, smile at the thought of winning the next point, think about where you want to hit the ball and rehearse the next stroke – probably a serve or return of serve. Your mind only thinks one thing at a time. If you can keep it occupied, it can’t get distracted.

If you’re too pissed off to concentrate, go over to the person bothering you and say something. The f word is probably not the best choice. It’s a good idea to go over there with a suggestion for improvement in the situation, anger only begets more anger.

Practice and Competition Report: played for a few hours, don’t remember the score.
Solutions Analysis: remembered to step into the ball in the middle of the second set and then started to hit the ball solidly.