Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tennis: Baby Steps

"In tennis the addict moves about a hard rectangle and seeks to ambush a fuzzy ball with a modified snow-shoe." 
~Elliot Chaze 

Tennis is hard!  Like really, really hard. And strange. Yes, hard and strange has been my experience of tennis so far.  It is so foreign and weird for my body I can not even fathom how this came to be a sport! Who came up with this?

Lucky for me I am in pretty good cardiovascular shape so I can run all over the court after the ball no problem.  But once I get to the ball that’s when things start to get complicated.  I just can’t seem to consistently get the ball on the strings!  I haven't been able to get my timing right, I feel like I don’t know exactly what the ball is going to do, how it will bounce, and where I need to be to get  the shot.

Well if I am really honest once I pick up a racket is when the problem really starts.  I have small girly forearms and that tennis racket is heavy!  It does not seem that heavy until you have to grip it and keep good leverage on it and swing it around and stuff. The next day after every class my arm is sore and even a little shaky. 

So I am feeling a little out of place.  It’s just so foreign to me!  Seems like it should be so simple.

But our coach (of the 5 week tennis class my husband and I are taking on Mondays) made a really good point the first week in class.  Imagine if for whatever reason there was an adult who had never ever learned to walk.  It probably would not be pretty those first few attempts to start walking.  Your muscles wouldn’t be strong enough for it, your brain would be adjusting to the new sensations, your sense of balance would be off.  The things about walking that we take for granted would be the very things that would cause the most trouble. 

That’s what learning tennis as an adult is like.  It looks simple. Someone who knows how play takes for granted the very things that are giving me trouble, like timing, getting the ball on the strings, getting the ball over the net, holding up a racket for pete's sake!

Just because this is foreign and strange does not mean it's not worth perusing.   I think its good for the body and mind to learn new things, even if they are very difficult at first. No, especially if they are very difficult at first.

So I am just going to keep practicing one baby step at a time.  Only practice and getting my body used to this is going to make it easier. 

Have you ever tried to learn something that was new and strange to you as an adult?  How did that work out?  I would love a little inspiration! :)

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