How the…did this get into my tennis bag? And, advice from Coach for 2018

My tennis bag was like my portable lost and found for 2017, and it was growing heavier and heavier as the year went on. Hair bands came and went; tennis hats appeared with logos to fit every mood from LACOSTE to Mount Gay Rum; three Babolat racquets crammed in there (one to play, one to keep in an emergency, and one because I liked the color); cash forgotten in a corner of a secret pocket that I could have totally used to get a post match snack.

Then there were the things I couldn’t see, but would carry around with me… things like hesitation, which I picked-up after losing a match trying out a new drive; self-doubt, I found whenever strong players entered the court; regret that fell in, when I was afraid to do what I had in my plan; and then there were the little emotional crumbs that scattered into the crevices from stuff that happened off court.

So I took my bag turned it upside down and shook it hard, letting that sticky clutter seen and unseen fall right out of it… and it felt so good to just get rid of it all and start fresh and light.

But what should I fill my bag with in 2018? I sat down with my coach who shared some inspiration that I could put on paper and keep as a reminder in a pinch. Here’s how it went…

COACH: “Keep your feet on the ground.”
CG: “You would think that with these large feet and above average frame, I would be glued to the ground at all times. But apparently the desire to leap is strong.”

COACH: “Gather yourself.”
CG: “If I were in pieces it wouldn’t be a problem, it’s when I’m a puddle that gathering myself is a challenge.”

COACH: “Do it decisively.”
CG: “I decisively change my mind at least three times in the last-minute… does that count?

COACH: “Small adjustments make a big difference.”
CG: “So the time I slightly adjusted my swing and the ball shot up into the parking lot, was that too much?

COACH: “Keep moving.”
CG: “I don’t mean to get all ‘sciency’ on you Coach, but is the gravitational pull stronger during early morning practice and before coffee, because my gluteus maximus feels super heavy then.”

COACH: “Know when to strike and when to take the pace off. Soft hands win points.”
CG: “If only a good moisturizer could help with that.”

COACH: “No excuses.”
CG: “Ooops, the sun was just in my eyes so I couldn’t hear you.”

COACH: “Just go for it and forget about who’s watching, judging or criticizing.”
CG: “Yes! Sure thing! But, please don’t come to any of my matches, you freak me out standing there with your arms folded and that look on your face.”

COACH: “Find a way. You already know what to do.”
CG: “Well, I sure did take a lot of lessons so that would seem to make sense.”

COACH: “Learn to let go.”
CG: “I just hope for your sake that I don’t let it ALL go.”

COACH: “Enjoy the play.”
CG: “Oh, I got this one… totally in my wheelhouse.”

Thank you Coach! Clearly there is still a lot of work to do, but it’s a process and this is a good start…

Happy New Year from CG TEAM!