Sports Magazine

The Life Lessons I Learned From My Big Tennis Break – Part 1 – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 175

By Kselz @TennisFixation

Well, here we are at the end of 2019 and here, at last, is the episode I've been promising. If you've been listening to this podcast in the last few months, you've heard me say that I was going to explain where I was and what I was doing in the two years that went by between Tennis Quick Tips Episode 164 and Episode 165. That's a pretty big gap and a lot happened during that time, not just in my tennis life, but in my life life. I learned a lot about myself during that time and I also found out just how big of an impact tennis has in my life.

So today, I'm going to talk about what happened during that two year gap and I'm ultimately going to tell you about what I learned about myself and about tennis. I'm going to tell you just how I came to love tennis again. Because it wasn't simple or easy to do. And I wasn't loving tennis at one time. And I'm going to tell you the big life lessons I learned that I am trying to apply to my tennis game now.

Because I have a lot to say and because I know you come here for something that's quick and easy to digest, I'm actually going to break my story up into two parts. So Part 1 is this episode where I tell my whole story about what happened that caused me to take a two year break from tennis. And in Part 2, I'll give you those big life lessons that I came to appreciate and that helped me return to the game.

I hope when you hear my story and learn how important tennis became and continues to be to me, you'll see how tennis can be something big and impactful in your own life. And I hope you'll actually hear something in these episodes, especially in Part 2, that applies to you and your own game. Because that's what Tennis Quick Tips is and always has been all about. It's about you, your tennis game, how you can play better tennis, and how you can really enjoy doing that. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player in this post or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link:

"Why Did You Stop Your Podcast For So Long?"

So I want to start this episode by telling you about a conversation I had at a holiday party I went to just a few weeks ago. I was talking to a long-time friend, someone I don't play tennis with but someone who plays tennis and has been following my tennis journey from the very beginning. We play out of the same club, have done drills together, and have had many, many, many conversations about the game. But he's isn't on any team that I play on and we don't really see each other very often. Anyway, at this cocktail party, we were chit-chatting and he asked me something like, "Why the big break? Why did you stop the podcast for so long?"

Now, as I said, this is not the first time I've gotten this question. In fact, many of you emailed me during that two year gap to say, "Hey Kim, where are you? Why aren't you podcasting?" Many of you told me how much you love Tennis Quick Tips and how much you missed it. And to every single one of you who reached out to me with your questions and concerns and positive words, I want you to know that your comments were so important to me. They really validated everything I thought I was trying to do with Tennis Quick Tips and they were a major reason why I returned to recording again.

But, getting back to the cocktail party, what this particular conversation at this particular party showed me was - I've got to talk about what happened to me. Because I really thought this guy knew what was going on in my life enough to know why I wasn't recording any Tennis Quick Tips episodes. And he clearly didn't! It seemed weird to me to explain what had happened but I did want to explain it to him and I want to explain it to all of you.

My Five Steps To Tennis Burnout

So let's go back to the summer of 2017 and I'll tell you how I reached tennis burnout. Because the summer of 2017 is when I recorded Episode 164, the last episode before my two year break. At that time, I can tell you, I was completely burned out on tennis. I don't know about you, but when I listen to Episode 164, I can hear it in my voice. Tennis just wasn't fun for me anymore.

So what had happened to cause my tennis burnout? Well, a lot of things were happening but there were five specific things that all came together at the same time.

1. I Was Physically Worn-Out

First, I wasn't playing well, not at all the way I wanted to or expected to play, and I was sore all of the time. My right shoulder hurt. My right knee hurt. I could tell I had tennis elbow pain in my right forearm. While I can see now that my body was just worn out from playing way too much tennis, back then, I thought the best thing to do was just to keep playing and play through the pain. Take more Advil and Tylenol, stretch more, and just keep playing.

2. I Didn't Like Playing With My Tennis Team

The second that that contributed to my tennis burn-out was really a mental issue. I was playing on a team where I had convinced myself no one really liked me so I didn't like them. I felt like I just did not gel or mesh with the people on this team. And tennis is such a social sport that this was really making me not like playing my matches each week. The ladies on my team were all very nice but I just felt like I was not really friends with them. And I felt like, because I wasn't part of the team clique, I was not being properly played on the team. I didn't think I was being partnered with the right people and I didn't think I was being played at the right lines. I just felt like all of my efforts on this team were wasted and things were not going to improve.

3. Tennis Had Become Like A Job I Hated

The third thing that happened was tennis had just become so time-consuming and labor-intensive for me. I had a tennis podcast and a tennis website and I was constantly trying to keep up with those. I was volunteering for my local tennis league. I was doing administrative work for my tennis coach. I was doing tennis drills with my team. I was taking private lessons. And I was teaching tennis to beginner ladies. Basically, it was tennis, tennis, tennis all of the time. Tennis had become more like a job I hated and less like the game that I loved.

4. I Felt Like An Imposter

The fourth thing that led to my tennis burnout, and this one is kind of hard for me to talk about, was I became convinced that I was an imposter. Have you heard of this condition called imposter syndrome? The best definition I found of imposter syndrome is that it is "the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills." And that's how I felt in the world of tennis.

While I have always made it very clear that I'm a regular recreational tennis player, just like the vast majority of you listening to this podcast, I felt like I really had nothing to contribute to the world of tennis coaching and instruction because I had never played anything that could be considered high-level tennis. I didn't play in college. I didn't play in high school. I didn't even play as a kid. I kept thinking, who am I to talk about tennis? Who am I to think I can teach anyone anything about tennis? What could I possibly say or write or even do that would help anyone play better tennis?

5. I Flooded

Finally, number 5, and this is the biggest thing that happened to me, late in the summer of 2017, my house flooded. If you were paying any attention to the news back then, you may recall that Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in August of 2017 and much of the city was underwater for days and days. My home was one of the houses that flooded that summer. I had two feet of yucky, gross flood water in my house for five days. And, suddenly, I had no home. Just to put this in context, I was very fortunate in that I only had two feet of water in my house. My neighbors across the street from me had five feet of water in their home and lost everything on their first floor. Another friend had water up to her ceiling and lost absolutely everything. These homes and many homes in my neighborhood were destroyed by the flood and ultimately torn down. The first floor of my own home was completely gutted. So for many, many months, I was displaced from my home and my family moved into an apartment. And once that happened, once my family had no real home, tennis officially became the lowest of low priorities to me.

So What Did I Do?

So what did I do in the face of all of these things? Well, I basically quit tennis. I actually made a list of everything I wanted to quit doing in my tennis life and I checked those things off the list one by one. The reality was that I needed to deal with rebuilding my house and getting my family home again. So I just stopped tennis. I stopped the tennis drills and the tennis lessons. I stopped teaching tennis and working for my coach. I almost completely stopped playing tennis. While I didn't immediately quit my tennis team because I felt obligated to finish the season, I knew I would quit right after that. The same with my league volunteering. I didn't quit because I had committed for the fall, but I planned on quitting immediately after that. And, because I didn't want to think about tennis or talk about tennis, I quit writing for my Tennis Fixation website, I quit emailing my followers, and I quit recording my Tennis Quick Tips podcast.

The bottom line - I planned to completely walk away from tennis and I was setting myself up to do that.

So that's where I was back in the summer of 2017. That's what happened and that's what was going on in my life and in my mind.

Now you already know, I did come back to tennis. But not without taking a good hard look at what was going on in my game and in my life. So in the next episode of Tennis Quick Tips, I'll tell you what it was that turned me around. I'll tell you the big life lessons I learned that made me appreciate tennis again and made me excited about the game. And I'll tell you how those lessons have carried over into other parts of my life with the result that I think I'm a much kinder, calmer and happier person today then I was way back in 2017.

So I hope you'll keep listening. And I hope you'll let me know what you think. As I always tell you, I love to hear from you. I love to here about your tennis game and I want to know how I can help you improve and become a better tennis player. Thanks for listening and, as always, Happy Tennis!


I would love it if you would take a minute to leave your review of Tennis Quick Tips on iTunes. Just click here: Tennis Quick Tips on iTunes. Your review will help the show become more easily discovered by like-minded, awesome tennis players just like you. And if you want to make sure you never miss an episode, be sure and subscribe on your smart device. You can click here to find the show in iTunes: Tennis Quick Tips on iTunes. Or you can click here to find the show in Stitcher: Tennis Quick Tips on Stitcher.

© Kim Selzman 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog