Last night's lesson was the first time I felt like I might be able to take all of the things I've learned and actually play a round of tennis. The entire hour was spent playing with different classmates. It was nerve wracking at first because we're all at different levels, but as the class went on I could really see why rotating play with everyone was so important to the learning process. It was just really good practice.
I boldly proclaimed to two opponents that we were learning, so therefore there would be no “I'm sorrys” shouted out when we missed shots. It's so liberating to be unapologetic and to offer that to other people. In both cases, the women (I didn't hear any of my male opponents offer apologies, by the way) laughed and said, “Okay.”
We played for awhile and then we were gathered around a court to watch two of our teachers play each other. They make it look so easy. I laughed and commented to a woman standing nearby that our teacher was doing all of that AND talking to us the entire time. He talked to us about what they were observing in our play that could be improved on. It was really helpful.
The refining takeaways from this class were:
1. the Bermuda Triangle – the spot in front of the base line that many people stand in that makes it easy for them to get the short shots but almost impossible to get to the longer shots.
2. Stay in ready position – both hands on the racquet so you are ready for every shot - forehand or backhand.
3. Let the ball come to you rather than chasing and hacking away in the air with the racquet.
I commented to one of my teachers just how much there is to think about when playing. I told him I just thought it was hitting the ball over the net. I also said it would be fun to watch tennis on television now because I'd know what I was looking at and be better able to appreciate just how talented and skilled those players are.
One more class to go. I will absolutely sign up for more classes, but I still have a lot to accomplish on the 4040 list. Once I clear off a few more of the physical components – skating lessons, ziplining, rock climbing, and the 5k – I'll be ready to hit the court again. More than ready.