Playing Against a Wall: Aggression in Tennis
The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I’ll never be as good as the wall – Mitch Hedberg
Imagine that one day you go to the local park to play a couple games of tennis. There are usually plenty of people at the courts looking for a game, so you don’t bother with calling anyone else to play. You just grab your racquet and go. Once there, you realize that you are the only one at the courts. In an effort not to waste the time that you already spent driving to the park, you go to the corner to practice by hitting the ball against the wall. In a short while, you begin to notice that you are playing the best that you have ever played. Your form is perfect, your movements are crisp, and your footwork is impeccable. No matter how the ball bounces off of the wall, you are there to return it.
However, even in this hypothetical scenario, there is no chance of you ultimately beating the wall. No matter how flawlessly your serve, place spin on the ball, or anything else that you may do is, the wall will always return the ball, and you will be forced to react to however the ball bounces off of the wall. There is no way to win because you are constantly reacting to what the wall does regardless of what you may be able to do. While this scenario may seem far-fetched, it is not unlike the approach that many athletes take when they compete. Rather than focusing on what they do best they will hinder their ability by solely reacting to what their opponents are doing.
A key mindset principle on which you must possess a firm grasp as an athlete is the concept of aggression. While competing, you constantly have to be on the attack. You have to constantly be looking to score and keeping your opponents on the defensive. Too many times in sports, we find ourselves merely reacting to what the other person does, and this makes it extremely difficult to get our own offense going. Similar to the scenario where you are hitting a ball against a wall, there is only so long that you can simply react to the ball without starting some sort of offense on your own. Be intelligently aggressive rather than reactionary in the way that you play, and you will notice success!
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