How to Play Tennis If You’re Down Big

For most of high school, my main sport was tennis. I had played since I was a kid, and I was decently good, though not enough to be a top-tier singles player on the varsity team. Outside of the top three, the rest of us played doubles.

I remember one particular game, where my partner and I were way down and had no chance of coming back. At one point, and I’m not sure how or why, something switched and I just started giving 110%. I’d hit shots I normally wouldn’t or couldn’t and had certain ace serves land. It began to infuriate our opponents. We still lost, but I ended up getting the ‘Best of the Week’ award from the coach for never quitting.

Most importantly, even though I knew we weren’t going to win, I had way more fun when that switch flipped. And the more fun I had, the better I played. I’m still looking for that key to switch states when you’re down, but the fact that I’ve remembered it two decades later highlights its importance. So I need to try to remind myself more about having fun and giving it my all, without fear for the outcome.

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