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The Life Lessons I Learned From My Big Tennis Break – Part 2 – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 176

By Kselz @TennisFixation

Hey Tennis Quick Tips listeners! I'm so glad you are here and listening in to this episode. Because this is Part 2 of my two part mini-series called "The Life Lessons I Learned From My Big Tennis Break." Hopefully, you listened to Episode 175 already because that was Part 1 and in that episode I explained just how I was able to achieve complete and total tennis burnout back in the summer of 2017, right before my big two year break from tennis.

The Life Lessons I Learned From My Big Tennis Break – Part 2 – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 176
The Life Lessons I Learned From My Big Tennis Break – Part 2 – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 176

In this episode, I'm going to let you know how I got over my tennis burnout and how I came to love tennis again. So much so that I returned not just to playing tennis, but to talking about and writing about tennis, and to recording this podcast right here, Tennis Quick Tips. I'll also tell you what I learned about myself and how I continue to work on improving myself and living a better life. Because I have learned some pretty big lessons over the past year that I think are helping me to become a calmer, kinder, happier person, not just in my tennis life but in my life.

And I hope when you hear my story, you'll hear something that makes you think about yourself and your own game. I hope you'll hear something that will make you love tennis and want to continue playing and improving your game. And if you also hear something that becomes a life lesson for you, that's even better!

So, if you haven't already listened to the previous episode, Episode 175, I highly recommend you do so before you listen in to this episode. Because this one will make a lot more sense if you've already heard Part 1. And with that recommendation, let's get into Part 2 and talk about the big life lessons I learned from my big tennis break. And here we go!

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: tennisfixation.com/itunes.

So I Pretty Much Quit Tennis

Just to recap quickly, as I explained in Episode 175, by the summer of 2017, I had become completely burned out on tennis. I was physically worn-out, I didn't like my tennis team, tennis had become like a job I hated, I felt like an imposter who shouldn't even be talking about tennis, and the straw that broke the tennis camel's back, I flooded. In the show notes for this episode, I'm including a photo of myself sitting on my front porch in about 18 inches of flood water showing just what that looked like. And FYI, this photo was taken several days after we had evacuated our home and the flood water had receded somewhat. While I'm smiling in the photo, this smile was definitely one of dazed disbelief. You can check that photo out by going to the show notes at http://tennisfixation.com/quicktips176.

And what did I do in the face of all of these things? Well, as I told you in the last episode, I basically decided to quit tennis. I stopped talking about tennis and writing about tennis. I stopped teaching tennis. I quit my tennis team. I cut way back on the amount I was playing. My plan was ultimately to walk away from tennis completely.

But Then I Didn't Quit Tennis!

But that's not exactly what happened. Yes, I basically took a two year break from the game. Tennis was on the very bottom of my to do list during that two years because so many other things had become a priority. But because I had a few tennis obligations that I didn't want to just flake on, I kept playing a bit. So tennis was always there, in the background.

A lot of other things were, of course, happening and were much more important to me. As I said in the last episode, my number one priority was getting my family back home again. I don't know how many of you have been through a natural disaster but it is just devastating, mentally and physically. When your home and almost all of your possessions are destroyed, it is such a blow to you. What you thought your future was going to look like is just gone and you have a new reality to deal with.

So I spent those two years, since the summer of 2017 and now, dealing with the aftermath of the flood and really looking at what I could do to get to a happier, more joyful place in my life. And I learned a number of lessons, the lessons I'm trying to talk about here, that have helped me get a lot closer to that happier, more joyful place.

Now, let me make clear - I haven't mastered living my best life. This is something I work on now and am sure I will continue to work on going forward. I mean it took me over two years just to get to this point, where I'm even comfortable with talking about all of this here.

And what I talk about here is just what is working for me. It may not be anything that helps you to play better tennis or to even live a happier life. But these are the things that I came up with that have made a huge impact for me in my life and on the tennis court.

And, another caveat, I didn't come up with all of this all by myself. I have spent time reading and talking to others, especially talking to my fellow "floodies." I am even doing some life coaching, believe it or not (and that comment is mostly for myself), to help me come up with a better system to move forward. I continue to work on learning and improving. So when I talk about the life lessons I've learned, keep all of that in mind. This stuff may or may not resonate with you. If it does and it makes you consider or even change what you're doing out on the court, well, that's fantastic! But if it doesn't ring true to you, that's OK too.

And, finally, I'm really going to focus here on how these things have helped me with my tennis game. Because, at the end of the day, that's why you're here. To hear tennis tips that will help you to improve your own tennis game. So while many of these lessons apply at a much broader level for me than just tennis, I am going to talk about how they apply to my tennis so that you can see how they could apply for you.

Okay, let's get into it - the life lessons that I've come up with over the past two years that have helped me to overcome tennis burnout and play tennis in a whole new way, with a new and much better attitude. Here are the life lessons I learned during my big break from tennis.

The Life Lessons I Learned During My Big Tennis Break

1. Surround yourself with great teammates

Let's start with the easy, obvious one. Life Lesson Number 1 that I learned and that I am trying very hard to practice is to surround myself with great teammates.

Obviously, I'm saying teammates because I'm putting this in the context of tennis. For me, this had much bigger implications than just in my tennis life. In my life life, I found that, because I flooded, I kind of saw a separation occur between people I felt good about being around and people I didn't feel so good about. And I made a very concerted effort to spend my time with those people who gave me good, positive feelings.

How did this play out in my tennis life? As I said in Part 1, I was playing on a tennis team that I didn't really click with and it was having a huge, negative impact on my game. I mean these were the people I was spending most of my tennis-playing time with me so, no surprise here, because I wasn't enjoying being with them, I wasn't enjoying playing tennis. And while it is easy now to look back and see a lot of the problem was my own mental attitude about myself and about what I thought was going on with this team, the quick and easy solution was to quit that team. Which I ultimately did.

And guess what? Because I quit that team, another team suddenly appeared on the horizon. By quitting that team, I became available to be on another team. This new team was a team with several people on it that I knew and enjoyed being with, and with several people on it that I'd never played with or even met before. I took my time with the decision to be a part of this team because I didn't want to once again find myself on a team where I didn't like playing. And, if you recall, I really thought I was going to completely quit tennis. But this new team was warm and welcoming and really seemed to appreciate what I could contribute. So because I enjoyed my teammates, suddenly, I was enjoying tennis again.

Duh, I know but this was a revelation for me. Playing tennis with people I liked made tennis fun again!

So how does this life lesson apply to you and your tennis? Look at who you have surrounded yourself with. Are those people making you happy? And they building you up? Are they bringing you joy? Or are they making you sad? Do you make you nervous or stressed? Are they tearing you down and criticizing you? If your teammates are not building you up and making you happy, maybe it's time to look for a new team, a new drill group, a new tennis coach. For me, surrounding myself with great teammates who are fun and supportive has made a huge difference in my attitude towards tennis. I'm very happy with my choice to leave one team and join another because now I'm surrounded by great teammates.

2. Don't worry about what others think

The second big life lesson I learned is to stop worrying about what others think about me. If you recall from Part 1, I talked about one of the biggest factors, and definitely one of the most difficult to deal with, was my feeling that I was an imposter. Here I was teaching tennis and talking about tennis and writing about tennis, but I had this belief that I was not good enough to be doing any of those things. I had convinced myself that the tennis coaching and instruction I was providing was somehow just not good enough to help anyone.

So I went way out of my way to overcompensate for this belief - I was not just teaching and talking about tennis. I became certified as a USPTA recreational tennis coach. I became certified as a Tennis Performance Trainer. I became certified to teach Cardio Tennis. I even worked for a while as a USTA tennis official. And while all of these things were helpful in moving me along in my tennis journey, none of these things made me happy. In fact, they were making me very unhappy and contributing to this overwhelming tennis burnout I was going through.

What really made me happy I realized were two very basic things. First, just playing tennis. Just playing the game for the fun of it. And second, helping people like you all, the players who listen to this podcast, to play better tennis. I had to quit worrying about what others might think of my tennis instruction and just focus on the players who told me they were actually getting help from me. As I said in Part 1, I just kept getting emails from players saying "What happened?" and "Where are you?" I got emails from players telling me how much the podcast had helped them with their game and how listening to Tennis Quick Tips was the thing that really started them down the path to loving the game.

These messages really helped ME to play better tennis because they just validated what I was thinking about the online tennis community and was seeing with the players I was playing tennis with everyday. I finally just got myself to a place where I decided - the idea that I don't know what I'm talking about is wrong!

So I am getting over this imposter syndrome. I am working to quit worrying about what others think. For me, this is pretty specific to my tennis coaching. But it is also a lesson to apply to my tennis game and what happens on the court. I am working to stop worrying about what other people think of my game, and how I play, and whether I win or lose matches.

So how can this life lesson apply to you and to your tennis game? Well, I believe that we all need to stop worrying so much about what others think of our tennis. We need to stop trying to please anyone but ourselves as far as our tennis is concerned. I know its not easy. I myself haven't mastered this. But I actually did a whole podcast episode a while ago that touched on this and had some good tips. It's called " How to Deal with Spectator Nerves." I'll put a link to that episode in the show notes which you can find over at http://tennisfixation.com/quicktips176. The big takeaway from that episode? A good way to avoid this trap of worrying about what others think is to just play for yourself. Play your own best tennis. When you play the best tennis you know you can play, then you're playing for yourself. And while that may be a lot easier said than done, it is going to put you on that path toward better, happier, and even more winning-er tennis. And that's always good tennis.

3. Tennis is a fun game so keep playing

The biggest lesson that I learned over the past two years doesn't even sound like a lesson but, for me and I think for many of you, it really is. And that is this - to remember that tennis is a fun game. It should be fun. It should never be a chore to play tennis. At least not for most of us because most of us are not playing tennis for a living. It's something we choose to play and so we should be having a good time when we're playing it.

If tennis becomes a chore, if tennis brings you nothing but stress and anxiety, if tennis makes you question your self-worth, then something is wrong. You may need some coaching that helps you get through this. Or you may just need a break from the game.

Again - tennis is a GAME that we PLAY for FUN. It's a game for us to enjoy and we shouldn't feel bad about it. Yes, you're going to have bad days. You're going to lose some matches and you're going to want to improve. Those feelings are natural because, if you're playing this game, then you're competitive and you want to win. But when the bad days outnumber the good days, it's time to fix that.

I want to be happy with tennis no matter what my age or my physical condition. I want to be happy with tennis no matter how well or how poorly I play an any particular day or in any particular match or lesson. I want to be happy whether I win or I lose. I want to be happy with just getting to play tennis at all!

Look, I love tennis because it is very social, it keeps me fit, it makes me think in a really stimulating way, and it's a game I can play for the rest of my life. Tennis checks so many boxes for me. Tennis is a really wonderful, fun game. That's the most obvious of the life lessons I learned over the last two years, the one that really brought me back to the game, and the one that I keep working on remembering and bringing with me on the court.

4. Always be learning and improving

The final big life lesson I learned during my two year break, Life Lesson Number Four, is that I always want to be learning and improving, in tennis and in my life.

When I was making the decision to return to Tennis Quick Tips, it was very important to me that you guys were reaching out and asking me to come back and give you more tennis tips. That showed me that this podcast was important to a lot of people.

But one of the other things that prompted my return was the fact that this podcast helps ME to play better tennis. If you go way back in time, back to July 3, 2013, you'll find the very first episode of the Tennis Quick Tips Podcast - Episode Zero - which was called Welcome to the Tennis Quick Tips Podcas t. In that episode I explained who I am and what my goals for this podcast were. Don't feel like you have to listen to it because it's kind of cringe-y. Well, not kind of. Extremely cringe-y! I was reading directly from a script that I rewrote about 15 times and I was very, very uncomfortable. I'll have a link to Episode Zero in the show notes for this episode if you are interested in listening to just how bad I started out. But one of the things I said way back in Episode Zero and that I believe to this day is that just by doing this podcast, just by creating the Tennis Quick Tips podcast, I myself get better at tennis. And that all by itself is a pretty good reason for me to keep going. Not just with Tennis Quick Tips, but with my Tennis Fixation site and with all of my tennis coaching and instruction.

I decided it was important to keep speaking to players who really love hearing this podcast, players like you, because I think you want to hear from someone who is just like you and is using this information to become a better player. Like me, you are recreational or club level tennis players. Like me, you play on teams and in leagues and take lessons and drills. Like me, a lot of you are women. Like me, you want to improve your game with coaching that is easy to understand, simple to apply, and makes a big impact on your game.

The Goal Of Tennis Quick Tips? Tennis Instruction That Is Simple To Understand, Easy To Apply And Truly Impactful

So that's why I returned to Tennis Quick Tips and that's what I'm going to continue to do here. My goal is to provide you with tennis tips, coaching and instruction that are easy to understand, simple to apply and make a big impact on your game. And, hopefully, to do that in a way that's fun for you and me!

And That's My Story!

So that's my story! That's why I'm back and that's my plan going forward. If you made it to the very end of this podcast, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. Because you all really helped me regain my love of tennis and convinced me to return to Tennis Quick Tips. And I can't thank you enough for that.

So I hope you'll keep listening. I hope you'll keep asking me questions. And I really hope you'll tell me how your tennis game is going. Let me know how I can help you improve and become a better tennis player. And I'll keep giving you tips and letting you know about my own tennis adventures!

Thanks so much for listening and, of course, as always, Happy Tennis!

RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE

Check out these great resources mentioned in this episode:

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© Kim Selzman 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved


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