You know I do not usually use Tennis Quick Tips as my place to rant against players that for some reason I have had a problem with. I really avoid that because I know that by and large that does not help you play better tennis and that is not the purpose of this podcast at all. I am always looking to bring you actionable tips that you can use and put into effect right away to help you play better.
A lot of times, however, my experiences are what bring me to come up with the ideas for the episode and the tips that I am giving you and in fact this week had an experience out on court that really make me think about some of the types of players that I do not enjoy playing with and how I think those players have it wrong as far as their attitude goes.
So that is what happened to me this week. I played for fun at my club with a group of players who frankly are for me pretty high level players. I consider myself a solid, intermediate player and these ladies are in the upper part of the row, probably they could probably play even for play for five pretty easily.
So going into this, just playing for fun, just summer fun playdate I knew that I was going to be playing with some really good players but I was out there to have a good time and work on my game and I believe that is what they were out there for too. One of the ladies, however, spent quite a bit of time talking about how she did not want to play with some of the lower level players at our club. In fact, there was another court not too far away from us of four ladies playing doubles and those ladies were definitely at a lower level than our court or certainly they were at a lower level than this lady that was talking about it. However, they are all very nice players. They are probably more like 3/5 and I have played with them for fun and two of them are on two of the teams that I am on at this particular club. So the fact that this upper level player was sort of going on and on about how she did not want to play with these lower level players, in fact was not interested in any of the team drills because of them, she just had several comments to make regarding why it didn’t do anything for her to play with lower level players.
Frankly, I just think that attitude is wrong and it is bothersome to me because these are ladies at our club, these supposedly lower level players that are always available to pay tennis, love the game and are pretty fanatical about getting out there on the court and so I think this player's attitude of just refusing to play with players in this group or players like the women in the group I just think it's wrong. Frankly it was really bothering me that she kept going on and on about this. It started to make me feel like I hope I am never considered a lower level player that she doesn’t want to play with because I don’t really want her out there telling other players at our club how much she doesn’t want to play with me but as I said I am not using this podcast episode as just an opportunity to rant against this particular player or players like her, what I would like to do instead is use this situation as an opportunity to tell you why I think you can benefit from playing with lower level players.
I am not talking here about partnering up with them or being on a team with them. I am talking about being in the situation I was in, just getting out and hitting for fun and working on your game, a common enough situation that probably a lot of us experience. If you are avoiding playing with players that are a lower level than you because you don’t think that there is any benefit to you doing that I am going to tell you the four benefits I see that any players can get from playing with lower level players and I hope by the end of this podcast you will feel good about getting out there and playing with some of these people that you may be currently avoiding because you think they are beneath you level of play.
1. Play With Lower Level Players So That You Can Practice Your Game
The number one benefit I think you get from playing with lower level players is it lets you practice your game. The reality is if you really have something you want to work on it might be a specific shot, it may be some new serve you are putting together, it might even be a whole strategy that you are trying to put a couple of shoes together. You really can’t work on that outside of a lesson if you are only playing with players at your level or above. Obviously you can’t work on things like that when you are playing a match that counts for something and you can’t work on those kind of things if you are plying a more challenging match, that you are always on the run and that you never have time to just slow down and try new things out. If you play with lower level players however, that don't challenge you quite as much that is a great time for you to practise things that you would like you to eventually bring in to the upper level matches you play. That’s the most mercenary reason there could be for playing with lower level players. I've got some other great reasons why you should play with these people but if for no other reason than that it lets you practise your game. That’s a good reason to be out there playing with lower level players.
2. Play With Lower Level Players To Get A Good Workout
The second reason I think it's a good idea to play with lower level players is it’s a good work out. If your choice is to play with lower level players and get some exercise or do nothing then I say get out there, do it, and go play with those people. It certainly beats sitting at home and not playing at all because you can’t get together a group of people at your level to play. So get out there, play tennis, it’s a fabulous sport as you already know. Even if you are playing with people who don’t really challenge you it sure beats a day sitting at home doing nothing.
3. Play With Lower Level Players To Socialize
Number three, playing with lower level players is a great socializing opportunity. One of the beauties of tennis is it such a social sport. It is not lays about winning matches or getting a good work out, a lot of times it’s just about meeting new people and having fun with them and having an experience in common that is sports oriented. I think that it is a lot of fun just to get out and play tennis, just to hand out with people. It is a good way to make good friends and it is a great way to meet new people and while those people might be lower level tennis players than you they may be fun people that you will enjoy knowing and making friends with and they may be the people who introduce you to new tennis players that are higher level that you can play with. So the socialising opportunities all by themselves, that’s a good reason to play with lower level tennis players.
4. Play With Lower Level Players Because It's A Nice Thing To Do
Finally number four, I think a great reason to play with lower level players is it’s just a nice thing to do. We all start somewhere. I am sure that there is a lot of you out there who started playing tennis when you were kids and you've just continued to play throughout your entire life but there is a whole other group of people, people like me who didn’t start playing until they were adults and the only way I learned wasn’t through taking a bunch of lessons or going to clinics. It was through playing with other players who were nice enough to include me. Even in the days when I could barely get a serve in, I had no earthly idea what footwork was, court positioning, not even there, not even thinking that was such a thing but I had friends who were nice enough to always include me, to encourage me, to help me understand about things like footwork, things like doubles strategy to put into effect with a partner. They guided me to pros that I could take lessons with, they went to clinics and drills with me and they always encouraged me and I always tried to always be that person to other players. When I have gone to clinics that perhaps they are only lower level players at, this has happened to me at times because I have a pro that I love to work with but he teaches lower level players a lot but he will invite me to come. I always have a good time and I always enjoy being with those people because it’s just a great thing to see people out there playing sports and trying something new and having a good time doing it. I try to always be that person who includes other players and doesn’t mind playing against even beginner players because I know that was me at one point.
So I would encourage you to be that persons also. Be the persons who is inclusive and helps out with those new players, who may not be up to your level quite yet. Give them some time and they might get there but certainly don’t miss out on playing tennis just because you don't want to be with a bunch of newbies who don’t know what they are doing. So those are my four reasons why I think you should be out there playing lower level tennis.
This lady that I had problems with she doesn’t know I had problems with her comments and her attitude and perhaps it just came off more harshly than she really meant it. She does seem to be a nice lady and I do think there is a good chance that I will continue to be out there playing tennis with her. I am just saying I hope that is not the attitude that everyone takes. I hope that we all see that it’s always fun to play tennis no matter who you are playing with, no matter what the challenges are especially here right now, it’s the summer and you may not be playing league tennis and to keep going, to keep your game up, playing with lower level players can be a great way to do just that. So I hope you are out there enjoying yourself and not sitting at home doing nothing because you can’t find people who challenge you.
That's it for this week’s tennis quick tip. I hope you enjoyed that and I hope that if you are an upper level player that you have thought about your attitude a little bit and that you will consider maybe playing with some people new people out there, some lower level people who you could help out. You can let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Hope you are having a good summer, hope that whoever you are playing with, whatever level it is you are having fun and getting out on the court. I certainly am. Thanks once again, and as always, Happy Tennis!
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