Winning, Losing, and Learning

So. Losing. It sucks.

Last night, I "lost" my first match in a very long time. 10-8 in a third set tiebreaker. To be honest, I got tight and let my partner down rather woefully. I got back into competitive tennis because I felt it important to put myself in the situations my elite-level student-athlete clients face regularly. I help them focus on executing what's right in front of them, controlling the controllable, and winning the non-negotiables. Most important, I teach them, in the words of Nelson Mandela - that they never "lose" - they either win - or learn. Well - last night, I learned. A lot. (Hold the Ph.D. jokes.) 

As I worked on my post-match reflection, I noted my strengths and weaknesses and re-worked pivotal points in the match. During the match, I had excellent self-talk and limited stinkin' thinking - but not enough. My body language lapsed into the Yellow Range a bit too often. I got tight when I should have allowed the tens of thousands of shots I've hit to reinforce my confidence. I let the lapse in my service game - which is usually a strength - inform my groundies and, worse, the way I saw the court. 

I did not execute what was right in front of me. I did not control the controllables.

But I owned the non-negotiables. I worked hard. I hustled. I kept my energy high. My passion, attitude, and commitment didn't waver. I never slipped into the Red Range. On the very last point of the match, I ran down a clear winner and made our opponent hit a tough overhead - which I countered - only to have him put away the second overhead. 

Being on time everytime, working hard, putting in the effort, hustling after every ball, bringing high energy, maintaining a postive attitude, playing with passion, remaining coachable even in the hardest moments, and committing to your teammates and the integrity of the game.... These are non-negotiable. Mike and I did that last night. 

3-6, 6-3, 10-8.

We didn't lose. We learned.

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