Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The trees or the forest?

Back in my tennis obsessive-compulsive days I tended to avoid back hand shots, preferring to smash as best as I could only with my mighty forehand strokes. My forte was the devastating forehand, while my backhands turned out to be slices and finesse deals at best. The slowness of those shots usually marked the end of the rally, giving my opponent plenty of time to rush the net and clobber his return mercilessly.

After observing some Wimbleton matches, I saw the powerful no-fear attitude, even in the backhands. In fact the players seemed to welcome them. Back on the court myself, I noticed an immediate improvement in my confidence having a fresh memory of my tennis heroes' approach to swing fearlessly through every shot. Hesitating and doubt spelled a weak question mark, whereas a well-rehearsed bold and aggressive stroke more often than not ended with an exclamation mark.

Attention to the details of technique is vital, but it should be secondary to the goal of winning and winning with style in the process. Worrying about the backhand should be followed with smart backhand practice. But when the game begins, all fear and hesitancy should be gone. What carries one through the rigors of set and match is that relentless pursuit of excellence, not obsessing on details of technique, at least not by that point. Style and drive wins points. Winners keep the forest in focus inspite of the trees.