Opening Night Welcome: Tennis Congress 2015 5


PJ said that i should tell you how to approach the weekend of learning from these 81 remarkably brilliant faculty members. I am honored to be part of this faculty, one that has been lovingly brought into the fold by PJ Simmons, our leader.

Well I am all about stories and this is one helluva story that has turned into this, the third installment of Tennis Congress.

Three days of teaching from some of the best minds in the industry.

Three days of learning by some of the most passionate recreational athletes in the country.

How about that for some serious synergy?

So how do you get the most out of it?

There will be a massive amount of information that you are going to try to drink in.

But if you try to drink out of a fire hose you probably won’t get too much water. You might drown yourself.

I have heard comments from some of you like:

How will I be able to take it all in?

What if a lot of the info drops through the cracks?

I am concerned about getting what I need.

What if I don’t play well? I don’t want to embarrass myself.

I worry that I will not be as good as other players.

I don’t learn well in a group.

I never took an off court lesson.

I might be better or worse than everyone in my group.

Some coaches talk to much or too little.

Change is hard. It is painful.

I have tried and tried but never been able to really improve my game.

That is what I call a bad story.

A story that will not work.

So what will your story be as a student that will be in an ocean of information?

Here is a story that may work…

I start my day with a class that will take me from my left brain to my right by quieting the noise and creating an environment of receptivity.

I will check my skepticism and doubt at the door while in the world of TC.

I am here to improve, NOT PROVE

I believe that almost all that I do is habit and that I can create new habits.

I believe that, while requiring commitment and work, change can be fun, easy and quick.

My middle name is can do.

Positivity flows out of me.

I live my tennis life in focus as I let counterproductive thoughts dissipate like a helium balloon.

I will listen and not worry about trying to remember everything. I will take in what I can and trust that the systems put into place by PJ and his team will be there for me when I return home.

I am ok with however I play, as learning includes falling and sometimes failing in the short term.

I trust that I will be able to separate the signal form the voice and that the most important stuff will hit my brain like a Federer overhead and will stay with me forever.

I welcome the journey to my next level no matter what bumps I encounter on the way.

Eight hours a day of non stop tennis information will take me to the next level.

I love quotes. Here are a few for you to consider as you create your story for the next few days.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Woody Allen

“Faith is taking the first step without seeing the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King

“One of the ways that I block the learnings available to me is to think that I can learn only from those who are ‘like me.'”
Anne Wilson Schaef

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
Isaac Asimov

I have one last point.

When you go somewhere you often know what you are looking for. If you go to Rome you know you want to see the Colosseum, Pantheon and the Vatican.

But along the way you might find something that you never expected.

Some of you are here to learn better strokes, strategy, fitness or mental skills so that you can win. After all, who here doesn’t have winning more on their to do list?

But along the way you may discover something you never expected. How to be a better partner. How to find the joy in competing. How to put winning in perspective. How to appreciate your opponent. How to be a better version of yourself. A sense of community.

Be open to what you find on this journey that is not what you expected.

At the beginning I played only to win.

When I started to win consistently I found that it didn’t fill my bucket as much as being a certain type of competitor.

Instead what I found is in my story of why I play tennis:

To play, in competition, at the high end of my skill and talent. To love the competition more than I love to win and to accept whatever the outcome with dignity and class. To compete in the moment, avoiding past and future tripping. To compete for each point. To compete with effortless effort. To be non judgmental of myself. To enjoy myself. To be enthusiastic. To be forgiving of myself for my inability to achieve perfection. To see the perceived pressure moments as the sweetest moments. To have every match be an experience where I grow as a player and a person.

So find your story about why you are here and who you aspire to be.

And I assure you that this weekend will be one of the very best tennis experiences of your life.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 thoughts on “Opening Night Welcome: Tennis Congress 2015

  • ed schroback

    What a great introductory speech Bob! Wish i was there to hear it..and the resounding applause that came at the end..

  • Tom Tjoflat

    What a truly amazing weekend! Looking forward to finishing my new story. While I wish there were more than 6 people in our first session for YOU, how awesome was it for US that Allistair McCaw and Phil Wharton were part of that group.

    Great Stuff!!