Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tennis, Anyone?

I just had my third tennis lesson ever today. At the first one, we learned forehand. The second, backhand. After these two I practiced a bit on my own and even once with the only other person in the class, my friend Barbara. (The class is supposed to have more people in it but since it's in the middle of the day on a Tuesday...it's not an easy time to make for most people. So Barbara and I lucked out with a semi-private lesson with our instructor, L the Tennis God.) I was on a roll, I thought. Not that I could control my shots much, but I could hit the ball forehand and backhand and could even see some miniscule improvement.

Then today we did serves. I could throw the ball up in the air but only rarely did my racquet make contact with it. I could see the ball, and see the racquet, but somehow the two did not intersect. In fact, my racquet making contact with the ball is still the main obstacle for me in tennis at the moment. I can do the mechanics of the strokes, especially as they are broken down by L the TG, and get my body in the right position, but there is often a disconnect between my racquet and the ball. Barbara seems to have a little more hand-eye coordination going for her!

I have always been particularly bad at ball sports. This puts me right back to being picked last for kickball in elementary school, and evening after evening of my father patiently pitching gentle pitch after gentle pitch while I tried to make the bat connect with the ball. I think I gave up on ball sports after that. Does badmiton count as a ball sport? I was okay at that, but that doesn't necessarily help you in learning to play tennis.

Barbara and I discussed the peculiar feeling of doing something that you know you are not good at. She pointed out that kids are asked (forced) to do lots of things they aren't good at--or things they haven't learned whether they are good at or not--both physical and mental. But we adults usually don't put ourselves in the position of doing something we know we're not good at. I feel humble. But especially when L the TG says tennis is more a mental sport than anything else, then I think there is a possibility that I could learn it enough to actually play.

There have been a few moments here and there where my body knew where the ball was going and I put the racquet in the right place and hit it right. What a good feeling. I'm hopeful I will have more of them as I go on.

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