Progress in the Process 9

Final Day of Practice

It has been a bumpy road getting to this point in my preparation for this tournament. Lots of old demons that I thought had been jettisoned popped up. Many of my blog followers have sent me suggestions about how I needed to be thinking to be free of the expectations that had been pushing and pulling me into a negative state…and the resulting distortion of my own playing levels.

Tips such as remembering that last year stands alone and that this is a new year, just go out and enjoy playing, focus on whatever has worked in the past, relax, and don’t worry about results. There is never a shortage of good tips and all of them are helpful to know. But the work is to move from the external awareness to the internal shift. That is where I have been putting my effort over the last two weeks.

Each day I have used my meditation time to go deeper and deeper into a feeling state of acceptance and anticipation of the joy of playing that is part of who I am as a player. Frankly, I never am quite sure if I have moved from the external thinking this stuff to the internal shift of really feeling it. When I feel it, I know that it is real and lasting.

So when I arrived to practice on Saturday I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I stepped on the court and hit a few balls, I felt great. I felt the shift. The shift to feeling like the Bob on the court that I have become familiar with. I instantly knew that I wouldn’t need to try to be anyone but me. The confidence that I could just be Bob and that that would be enough was freeing. I settled in. For the first time in months I was back in my element and having fun.

Sunday practice was the same. I feel the flow. I am relaxed. I am moving effortlessly. I am on the ball. It is as if the last few months did not even happen.

I am reminded, again, that this challenge, this struggle, was something that I needed. It was a reminder that the work never ends and that I must always welcome the work. The adversity is just what is needed to continue to grow. Without it there is stagnation. No change. No growth.

And I live to grow every single day.

First match tomorrow. Cannot wait. Hard to believe that I was considering bailing out on this tournament.

Leave a comment

9 thoughts on “Progress in the Process

  • Michael Smolens

    I knew you would work your way through it Bob, and as always, your openness with your struggles is so helpful for me, and I am sure for others.

    Cannot wait to follow your through the draw.


  • Jim Falvo

    We all want the magic bullet that will solve our challenges but you, Bob, have discovered that it’s best to just let things roll and enjoy the ride. Just as playing in the zone requires little thought and leads to high performance, the same unconscious state of mind (worry-free and rejecting the inevitable random thoughts of self-doubt) leads to a natural state of Bob being his best Bob. I know that your performance tomorrow will be celebrating being in the moment, feeling the joy of competing and testing yourself, and accepting the results whatever they may be.

  • ed wolfarth

    It is soo hard to put the past, in the past………been trying it with my golf game for years. Even thinking of how good I thought I was, once, puts unnecessary expectations on me. Of course the ‘yipped’ putts and chips of the past still linger…both mentally & physically. Wish you could help me with that. I feel your pain brother. No doubt you have conquered most of it and putting yourself on the line, and accepting the results is key. Good luck and happy journey………Ed

  • Harriet Werner

    The best of luck to you tomorrow, Bob. Go out there and really enjoy playing your tennis no matter what the outcome. You know what you have to do, you did it this past weekend during practice, feeling relaxed, feeling the flow, moving effortlessly, and using all of your other resources to help you work through this exciting challenge. Open your heart to the challenge and the work…. you love it!! You’ll succeed!!
    Have fun and feel the growth!