The Truth About Tennis: 9 useful insights you need to know

I’ve had such fun watching the Wimbledon Tennis tournament this past week. All my favorites are in the semi-finals or finals – go Serena!

I always seem to learn a boatload about my life – and at the same time my business life – from watching these amazing athletes do their magic. I’ve identified nine (9) different things I’ve learned from watching tennis this past week!

  1. Mind-set matters more than you know. At this level of tennis, it is mostly a mind-set game – which is so true for my work life and me. Where are my thoughts going day-to-day with my business? Not unlike where are their thoughts going during their matches.
  2. Recovery is the key. A study was done a few years back about what was the distinguishing quality of the top-level tennis players in the world. It all came down to their ability to recover between the shots. They stayed present to the game rather than voting inside their heads about how great or how bad their last shot was. Wow, do I need this lesson over and over again and again. Stop voting about how you’re doing, good or bad, and simply recover back to the work or project or client at hand.
  3. Your serve matters. The opening experience we have with a client has big impact. Make it count and don’t hold back. Just like the serve of a tennis match… go for it like it’s your first serve.
  4. Practice, practice, practice. Obvious, but something we forget. I sometimes think I am supposed to be good at something within days or even hours. Seth Godin has said, “Becoming a superstar takes about 10,000 hours of hard work.”
  5. Focus. During my workday, it’s easy to have about a million shiny things distract me. Watching tennis has had me get better at focusing on ONE thing (shot) at a time. And then all those “one-things” can add up to a winning match!
  6. Play with someone better than you. When you play tennis with someone better than you, your game gets better. That is why I intentionally put myself into rooms of people who are way ahead of me in their business lives. By being around them, my creativity goes up. I do have to manage my “comparison gremlin,” and when I remember I get better by being around better, it all works out.
  7. Learn other shots. I often hear a voice that says, “Do only what you’re good at.” Yes, that might be true a good portion of the time, yet in tennis, one has to be good at many shots, i.e., an amazing backhand. Yet, those other shots need attention too. In my business, I have to learn messaging, marketing, media presence, accounting and enrollment as well as delivery of the service that I offer. I’m not good at everything, but it all needs attention, focus and practice.
  8. Change the game. When the “game” you’re playing isn’t getting the results you want, change it. In tennis, this happens all the time. Players change their pace, their strategy… just like we need to do when things aren’t working.
  9. Stay in the game… until the point is really over! How many times do I give up or lose focus way before its time? As I watch these players, they are so in the game until it is over.

I dare say if we apply even 10% of the above, our games will go up!

More to come-


  • Dean Regan Reply

    Rick, thank you for sharing the 9 Useful Things You Need to Know!

    I believe that living a “life of possibility” is essential. While working with a client recently I became both inspired and overwhelmed by their openness to the possibilities of life. They were constantly seeing both sides of the “story” and all the possibilities. This left them without a racket on the tennis court of life. Balls were all over the place! They didn’t “keep their eye on the ball,” because they were contemplating too many of them.

    On the tennis court of life, I deeply feel, sense and know that it is essential that we determine what we want, why we want it and how passionate we are about experiencing it. Once we are “Serena Williams clear” about that … we can then play, play, play! Choosing something you are passionate about — that serves us — and staying with it is imperative.

    I have just gotten to the “other side” of a situation in my life where I was passionate about pleasing other people — namely my clients at a very large project I’ve been working on for almost 2 years. This “desire to please” shot my effectiveness and happiness in the foot. Subconsciously, I kept the eye on the ball of trying to make the client “happy” (I’m over simplifying here). It separated me from a few of my values and the project became a quagmire of thoughts that were messing me up. (My belief is that “Your Thoughts Either Lift You Up or They F&#! You UpTM”).

    Once I became clear about the situation and was able to identify the game I was playing. I was able to get deep perspective and relieve myself of the “gotta get it done, gotta do it right, gotta do it now” people pleasing and redirect my energies to a greater success.

    • Rick Tamlyn Reply

      Dean, I so admire and appreciate your depth of looking into your own self to take you further to the impact you long to have with your talents. I adore the phrase….Serena Williams Clear–I am so borrowing that–thank you. Always honored!

  • Anna Leong Reply

    Thanks Rick for the 9 pointers and all are important. Focus and staying in the game are tops and constantly honing your skills.

  • Rick Tamlyn Reply

    Anna, Great to hear from you! Yes, staying in the game is the real deal. I cannot even imagine what the other choice is. As long as I am breathing, I am in the game!
    Best to you always,

  • Don Savage Reply

    Great analysis, Rick…For me the toughest ting to do is “be in the moment.” I think that is a missing piece of the puzzle for a lot of us and it’s the one thing that is absolutely necessary…This is the only moment you have!!!!

    • Rick Tamlyn Reply

      I so agree. Moment to moment focus is a practice. My mind wants to wander all the time to something new and exciting. It has now been proven that we get a hit of dopamine to our brain when we find something new to focus on. Thus the very real addiction of our smart phones. Overtime we pick them up and look at something new….dopamine hit. So compassion with self is also needed here. Thanks for reading and commenting Don. Sending you great thoughts and vibes for your life!!!

  • Adams Reply

    To be frank you have written an amazing article and relate it to real life. I am also distracted many times during my daily routine i am trying to be better and increase my productivity.Serena and Dominic are my favorite tennis players as well.

  • Table Tennis Reply

    Really such a helpful content for tennis player and I get many tips from this article. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Joseph R Regina Reply

    Great to hear from you! Yes, staying in the game is the real deal. I cannot even imagine what the other choice is. As long as I am breathing, I am in the game!

  • elizajohnson80 Reply

    On the tennis court of life, I deeply feel, sense and know that it is essential that we determine what we want, why we want it and how passionate we are about experiencing it.

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