"You can NOT take me down. I will serve you!” Those were my thoughts as my tennis instructor led me through a drill.
I was reacting to his coaching style - filled with remarks like “that’s why you’re not a professional”, “you would have had it, if you weren’t so carefree” and my favorite, “maybe you should have stayed home today”.
It was only recently that I started connecting my performance in drills with my instructor’s coaching style. I’m a pretty active on-the-go person and I’ve been playing tennis since high school (I’m now 45). I am not lazy and I love the game. And no, I am not looking to play professionally - I play for fun, to clear my mind and share some laughs with girls in my league. The bubble is my go-to-tennis-temple, that lifts my spirits and gives me assurance that I moved my body today. I usually always leave feeling happy and sweaty - win or lose. I noticed that my abilities during drills were often not reflective of my ranking - I was playing down, annoyed and really just wanting to leave. I connected the dots - and realized that this one instructor (let’s call him Joe) was sabotaging my confidence. Finally - I started talking back - saying things like “nice coaching style”, “I dont see you playing pro”, and the best “maybe YOU should have stayed home today!”. He got the message, I think. Instructor Joe, didn’t damage my spirit - he only hurt my game. And that’s ok. I am a winner EITHER WAY.