2014 has come and gone. And as always, it’s time to reflect on the year, read through your friends’ “year in review” social media feed and think about what New Year’s Resolutions you can set (then break) for 2015.
For tennis fans in 2014, there was plenty to read, plenty to watch and, most importantly, plenty to play.
To those local to the Middle States Section, 2014 was a standout year. Middle States had national champions in both Junior Team Tennis and USTA League Tennis, and inducted a group of four into its prestigious Hall of Fame.
More than ever, players picked up – and enjoyed – tennis. Kids of all ages learned the game, and adults of all ages continued playing.
But as we inch closer to January 1, it’s all about 2015. So with that in mind, here are a few tennis resolutions for 2015 that apply to players of all levels.
It’ll be a great year to play. See you on the court. And hey, don’t break these!
New Year’s Tennis Resolutions
1. Find more (creative) time to play. We know, it can be hard. Between work, school, family, friends and the thousand other responsibilities on everyone’s list each day, it can be hard to rationalize two hours of court time every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Instead of that, try focusing on finding more creative times to play. That might mean playing early in the morning before work, or hitting balls over your lunch break with a co-worker. Maybe it means finding time to play while on vacation or when away for business. After all, your racquet isn’t that big…you might as well take it everywhere you go, right?
2. Make it a family (or friend) sport. Finding time for tennis is tough. Finding quality time for family can be frustratingly difficult, too. So why not combine them?
Take a friend or family member out to the court and hit a ball around. Even if they’ve never played before, it’s worth it. If you have young kids, you won’t believe how much fun they’ll have with the 10 and Under equipment.
Everyone is used to sitting inside these days. We’re constantly texting or emailing instead of interacting and socializing in person. An hour of tennis is the perfect way to get your family out, active and interacting. You won’t even miss your cell phone, we promise. And that email can wait an hour or two until you get home.
3. Use it to reconnect. Remember your old roommate, or your high school/college buddy you lost touch with? You probably mean to call or hang out, but what will you even do? Dinner is expensive and requires non-stop conversation. Drinks are cliche. So when in doubt, go with tennis.
Tennis can be the perfect way to reconnect with an old friend or family member. It’s scheduled, active time that brings people together and builds a sense of comradery and friendship.
4. Introduce it to a new player. You probably have a friend who would love tennis, but just hasn’t picked it up yet. As you know, that’s crazy!
Someone did it for you, so return the favor. Try introducing a new player to the sport. Give them one of your old racquets or bags and offer to help them play. People pick the sport up a little faster than you might think, and you’ll feel great about helping someone learn the sport. They may even evolve into a great hitting partner or teammate down the road.
5. Improve your own game. 2015 can be about you, too. Pick something in your game that you struggle with or try to avoid. It could hitting your backhand on the run, or that frying pan second serve that always seems to result in a down-the-line winner whizzing past you.
Whatever it is, find that struggle and fix it.
The best approach could be finding a few extra minutes to work on it during your practice sessions or matches. If it’s your backhand, ask a friend to hit balls solely to your backhand for 10 minutes straight. If it’s that serve, get out there on the court (you don’t even need an opponent) and hit for 20 extra minutes per week. You won’t believe what a little bit of extra attention will do to your game, and the results of your matches.
6. Have fun. This is the most important one.
Tennis can be competitive, and competition can cause stress. Instead of worrying about that point you lost or the double-fault that lost you the final set, focus on the fun of tennis.
You’re on the court playing the game you love. You’re moving around, being active and playing a game, and that’s a privilege. Enjoy it, find happiness in the successes, and pass it on.
Learn more about USTA Middle States by visiting playtenniswithus.com.
What are your New Year’s Tennis resolutions? Leave them in the comment box.