Tennis and Business: Why tennis players get ahead

Posted by Steve Roberts on June 2nd 2016 - Latest News

It’s just three weeks now until the draws take place for Wimbledon 2016, when we will see inspiring levels of skill, determination, stamina, and tenacity to win… And hopefully not too much rain!?

We cannot all aspire to play at this level, but tennis can teach us a lot about how to win in business.

So what are the lessons being instilled into players on the tennis court that we can adapt in ways that will improve our own business or business practices?

Train Hard
All professional athletes train hard. Many of them may have been born with tremendous athletic abilities; but to make it big, born skill alone is not enough. They have to push themselves every day, usually for many hours.

This mentality applies to the business world too. In an economy that is constantly changing direction, you need to be on top of your game to compete. Hone the skills you need to thrive, challenge yourself, and evaluate your next ‘business game’ to keep yourself performing a at top level.

Be Strategic
It is difficult to play tennis aimlessly and win. Good players are strategic; they know the right angles to hit, which pace suits the angles, and the best positions for intercepting a return ball.

Not only do they know these things, but they are ready to apply this knowledge to their game with amazing speed and accuracy.

Successful business people exhibit similar know-how. They understand the ins and outs of their industry and how they fit into it. They deliver with strategy; they anticipate and counter problems in the same fashion.

Serve Well
There is a simple but popular quote about business and tennis, it emphasises the importance of service… “Business is like tennis; those who serve well, win”. The best business is derived form a tradition of striving to serve; be it front line service to customers, or those behind the scenes who serve an internal objective.

Looking at things from another angle, when you serve in tennis, you have a lot of control over where the ball goes. Good players capitalise on that moment when the ball is firmly in their side of the court. From a business perspective, so should we. When the next play is in your hands, make the most of it.

Use a Coach
Great players rarely get there alone. Many had a strong coach working tirelessly to improve their swing, tweak their footwork, and get them in top physical shape.

The same thing applies to the working world; we all need help to reach the top. Working with someone who relates to your field and can compliment and challenge your talents may make all the difference in your career.

Invest in Good Tools
World-class tennis players have the right equipment; a racket that is the perfect weight, for example, and shoes that feel ‘just right’. Perhaps the equipment is cutting edge; or it could easily be an older version that, despite changes in products, simply works too well to give up.

These athletes’ equipment is exactly what they need to perform optimally, and without it, chances are they wouldn’t be as good. Your business is no different. Determination, skill, and guidance are all excellent, but without the right tools to get the job done, these traits may not reach their full potential… Invest in ‘good tools for the job’, be it it a machine, a computer, a desk to work at, or a float to plaster with; to be the best, invest in the best you can.

In short, you can take a lot from what you learn on the tennis court into the business world. Apply tennis-inspired skills to your work and you can expect your professional life to thrive.

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