Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When I learnt from someone younger?



Tennis when not played by pros is more about patience than power. I took up to tennis relatively late and started playing tournaments (doubles) even later.

I must say that I make a wonderfully miserable player and a doubles partner. Every time we lose a match which we do quite often, I would indulge in blame game. I realize it and am trying hard to not be a real loser.

In this context what I learnt from my partner who is half my age will remain etched in my memory for the rest of my life. As my regular partner could not play, I took this young boy to partner me for a match last Sunday. Must say, I wasn’t hoping for a win.

Surprisingly, we took the first set quite easily and were leading in the second set comfortably. Then the opposition adopted the strategy of targeting my partner. They probably thought he was young and might break under pressure. They kept playing to him and waited for him to make the mistake. The rallies extended beyond my level of patience. I stepped in between at the net but made mistakes. And we lost the second set. Then I realized that the boy had all the patience and was playing good. And that is what Doctors prescribe! To keep the ball in play and let the opposition make the mistake. As I said at amateur level, you have to be more consistent rather than display power.

In his place, I would have my cool and sooner or later I would have either hit into the net or outside the court.

I let the boy play his natural game. No surprises, we won the third set and the match.

It is often said that learning happens at all ages. But many of us probably do not consider learning from those who are younger to us. We become quite condescending. And probably that causes the so-called generation gap. But now I believe that there is more to learn from younger generation as they go through pressures which my peers or elder ones would probably have never imagined. What is more important is that they handle the pressure better and in the process become better beings.

The idea is to have an open mind.

In addition to learning from somebody junior, I also learnt what strategy is from the opposition team. They were both quite elder to us. They mercilessly went through their strategy and targeted my younger partner and almost walked away with the match.

So, I realized strategy is about deciding a course of action and following through it with complete focus. Of course, we should make well-judged tactical changes when required.

Ha, it was a learning Sunday!
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