How do you get better at something – anything – you’re really trying to learn?
You show up.
You throw a lot of tools at the situation – lessons, practice time, books, DVDs etc etc etc.
But here’s what you don’t do when you want to get better at something you’re trying to learn: Give up when the going gets rough.
Since moving to Florida from New York roughly 18 months ago, I dove into learning four big buckets of skills: tennis, knitting, cooking and driving.
Before I circle back to tennis, I’ll quickly walk you through my progress in the other three areas:
I’m super-stuck here, but it isn’t a front burner issue. I keep making the same Monster Scarf™ over and over for my pals up north. I do want to expand my horizons, and move onto projects that are more FLA-friendly (i.e., shawls, shrugs, ponchos, etc.), but I don’t honestly know when I’ll get around to that. For now, I’m perfectly happy to keep knitting the same dang thang over and over while I’m welded to my sofa watching major tennis tourneys and all manner of Bravo brain-mush (cough cough…Vanderpump Rules). When I run out of friends in need of Monster Scarfs™, I’ll then push the panic button.
Whoa. I have to say I’m pretty proud of my progress in this all-important arena. For decades – basically the entire time I was Manhattan vampire workaholic – I had Fear of Kitchen. Now I cook All. The. Time. Thank you, thank you Jessica Seinfeld and your incredible third book. It changed my life.
Um, I’m definitely doing it. I buzz all over town. But I’ve yet to drive on the highway, which is a massive, massive bummer. One of my besties, who finally learned to drive in her mid-40s, now routinely hops in the car for treks all the way down to Charleston from Joisy. She tells me not to stress about the fact that I don’t venture beyond a 20-mile radius from my home, but I feel realllllly lame about it. I want freedom. I want to buckle up the Wee Lass and do day trips to Disney like all the other school moms. We just got me a gorge new car though, so maybe that will prove to be the incentive I need to finally get rolling.
Now onto the subject du jour…
As I’ve blogged recently, I’ve put my innate wussiness and pride aside to keep attending the weekly Women’s Clinic at my racquet club. There are several seriously good players who show up for this Tuesday night outing (some even ranked by the USTA), and it can get intimidating. I go anyway. And when I feel like a giant jackass for missing a shot, I just suck it up and get back in the game.
I’m also taking at least one Cardio Tennis class per week, plus a group lesson with a few other losers (jk) hosted by someone who will be referred to going forward as Coach Patrick.
Coach Patrick also teaches the Wee Lass, and he’ll be leading her 10-and-under group in Team Tennis | Junior League, which starts this coming Sunday.
So given that the Wee Lass and I are both embracing new learning around tennis, Deuce Box™ will be split between what’s going on with each of us.
I don’t know what to expect from Team Tennis yet, so I haven’t figured-out what types of goals I think the Wee Lass should be setting for herself.
So, for now, here’s what I want to work on:
1. Finding actual tennis shoes that are A) super-cute and B) super-comfy. So far, I’ve just been wearing regular running shoes, and I know that’s soooo Amateur Hour. But I’ve also seen plenty of women at my club limping around because their tennis shoes chafe. Evidently it’s très difficile to land on the ideal pair. Project!
2. Serving at least half-way decently. This should really be my first priority, but, you know, great-looking footwear is key. Allow me to share a sad story: For a while last fall, I was receiving regular invitations to play with the cool girls at my club. But gradually, as they came to see that I can’t serve my way out of a paper bag, all my other sterling qualities (i.e., my immense personal charm) became vastly less important. The invitations stopped. I get that. I’m still hugely pissed about it, but I get it. Those broads want to win; they do not want you screwing with their game with your sh—y serve.
3. Controlling my backhand. No one is as surprised about this as I am, but my backhand can be surprisingly forceful. Still, that’s not always what you want. If you’re whacking the ball so hard that it goes out, you lose the point. Plain and simple, pardner. I need to rein it in, be more strategic. I want to win.