What tennis lessons are teaching me about power

Photo by '09 Spyder

Sooo ... I'm taking tennis lessons.

The instructor asked what my goal was for the game. My response: beat Fella in a match while wearing a cute tennis skirt.

YES. (Photo by yourFAVORITEmartian)

However, since my only previous 'instruction' was at summer day camp at an age when I spent more time looking at the instructor than at the ball, I more closely resemble this:

Little known fact: Surgical masks help you focus. (Photo by transworld)

Every week my instructor tells the class to follow the CAP principles: consistency, accuracy, power. Mmm. Power. Sometimes I'm so eager for power I skip the other two and go right to my special patented over-under serve, complete with grunt. Which comes off kind of lame when I land the ball in my instructor's head instead.

Such outcomes remind me that proper form will help achieve the desired function. In turn, I'll be able to direct the ball exactly where I want it, rather than at innocent children or passing birds. Then -- and only then -- can I explode from the baseline and grunt and smash to my heart's content.


There's just one little problem. I have to be patient. Eight weekly sessions won't reveal me to be a long-lost Williams sister. Only practice, concentration, and dedication will. (Which is a shame, because I really thought the grunting would make it happen.)

So, instead, I'll take the lessons for what they are: a terrific opportunity to run around like a kid, learn a new skill, and work toward a solid skirt goal. Power will come. And in the meantime, I can practice humility.

Photo by meddygarnet

Prayer #165: Power Serve

If getting ahead of yourself were an Olympic sport, I'd medal every time.

On rare occasions I do leap forward and discover a fully formed talent or gift. But I can't rely on that happening. Instead, I trip and bruise and limp my way toward an evolving finish line where my need for an ice pack sometimes outweighs satisfaction in the race I finally completed.

Instructor of seamless form and function, help me achieve a most difficult balance: belief in my own ability, articulation of my goals, and patience for all the steps/phases/lessons that come before them.

Above all, couch me in this wisdom -- that power does not drive strength and resilience, it derives from them. Help me put the correct foot in front of the other, and lead me on.