Sunday, 31 July 2016

'A CATHARTIC EXERCISE' (PART 2)

When you think about it, the amount of information stored up inside someone's head who is in the process of writing a book can only be described as uncomfortable. I was lucky enough to meet a man two weeks ago who has in fact written no less than 25 books on sport and we had a chat for around half an hour. It was fascinating.
The main topic of his book writing is sport and he has sold many, many copies of many books and some of his heroes were my heroes when I was a kid. They were not in tennis though because I was only interested in my chosen sport from the age of 12. Before that I was like any other kid trying to find what he liked best, hockey, soccer, footy, cricket, you name it I tried it.
Maybe I was selfish to give tennis a go as after all it's just you out there, no one else can help you but your ability and your mind.
I wonder sometimes whether a tennis player, a surfer or a golfer is on another planet than a team sports player because surely the mind set has to be different. One accepts all responsibility, the other looks at sport a little differently, one who wishes to share the work load. Does one own a bigger ego than the other ? Quite possibly.
I have just finished chapter 15 of my book and I have delved into the side of tennis that I have titled 'Battle of the mind' because I find the mind to be the most intriguing part of sport in general as it can make or break a sports person. I have already written lengthy chapters in my book on the ability of some to strike a ball as well as a top twenty Pro yet a ranking of 300 plus proves that there is a lot more to tennis than simply being a great ball striker.
My journey in tennis quite possibly didn't even begin until I stepped onto European clay in 1991 but trying to put that experience into words is not easy as it is the moment you realise that this sport is way more brutal than you ever imagined. All those years of training can quite often account for nothing when you play someone who has a brain to match their ability to hit a tennis ball. 
What you just dished up in a warm up may have looked impressive but that's where the similarities in hitting a tennis ball ceased as 'Francois' read you like a book as soon as your forehand left your racket when the match commenced. A smart player can often crunch enough data in the hit up to win the first three games while you are still working on your 'fool proof' game plan.
Trying to explain all of this has been tough on a mind I still describe as 'a tin of worms' yet I find the whole exercise to be fruitful because of the prize at the end of it all, contentment. In a one on one sport I believe that is what counts the most.
Like the surfer searching for the perfect wave or a golfer looking for a majestic fairway drive, the tennis player is someone who will not rest until he has answered all of the questions that the game has asked of him.
Remember, tennis is an argument between two people, the best answers will win the match. Writing a book is an argument within your own mind, no opponents, no time frame but an endless search for answers. 
This is a match I am looking forward to winning, it only has one outcome, peace of mind......


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