“Calm down!” my tennis coach chastised me this morning. “You’re moving all over the place. Slow down and breathe when you hit the ball.”
I sighed. How many times in my life have I been told to slow down and breathe?
“Your instincts are great,” he continued in reassurance, “because you’re so athletic. But you’re a spaz case. Tennis is about strategy and control. I want you to harness that energy. Trust the mechanics.”
He tossed me another ball and I relaxed my grip. Watching the ball come to me, I exhaled as I made contact, whacking it solid in the strike zone with remarkable ease and power. “See?” my coach said like a proud parent to his child. “I get you because you’re just like me. I had to learn how to leverage my energy.”
Just like him? The first day I took his clinic he talked and moved through drills so fast my head was spinning in an effort to keep track. He had so much energy! But he’s also a GREAT tennis teacher. Because he slows down when it matters. When you need something explained. And when you need to do things right.
His summation of me is correct. I’m not a calm person. People think I am because I meditate and have a soft gentle voice. Yet there is a frenetic intensity to my being that often needs to be tamed like a wild horse.
Even a powerful serve does not need to be muscled. It’s knowing where you want the ball to go and how to execute.
So every week I line up at the base line with my peers, as we listen to our guru teach us that less is more.