Going it Alone: Character Lessons from the Gladiatorial Combat that is Singles Tennis

Northwoods Listener

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There is no safety net in tennis.

Each combatant stands on court entirely alone, without the support of teammates or coaches, often for hours at a time.  He or she must conquer court conditions, an opponent, and at times him- or herself without any outside help.

Tennis is perhaps the only sport in which a competitor can win more points than his opponent and still lose a match.  Thus, the mental game at least as important as the physical.  The key to a victory is winning what players call “the important points,” i.e., break points (which determine whether a player can win his or her opponent’s service game), set points (which give one player victory in a set), and match points.

A champion tennis player must be able to instantly forget what has transpired and must maintain a keen competitive intensity in order to capitalize on an opponent’s vulnerability.  In addition to talent, technique, and stamina, tennis requires patience, clarity of thought, problem-solving…

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