By Mitch Falkin, Men’s League Vice President
I like playing tennis, but I LOVE playing ALTA tennis! The strategy, the format, the camaraderie … there is no other set-up that I like better. I’ve realized the challenges of the “games within the game” are among the most compelling reasons I truly like playing ALTA tennis. What challenges, you may ask?
First, I like the challenge of individual pressure situations. For example, when I am serving at 5 games to 4, trying to close out a set, can I keep my nerves under control and “get it done” on my serve? Will I rise to the occasion, serve strong, and make the shots? There is nothing like holding your service game at 5-4 to make you feel awesome about yourself.
Second, I like the challenge of being a good partner. This, for me, is one of the hardest but most rewarding aspects of playing doubles. Can I encourage my partner, stay positive, and get the most out of him? Am I someone with whom other players want to play? Or do I let my partner’s mistakes show in my body language and on my face? I am continually working on this aspect of my game, and I probably will be for the rest of my playing career.
Third, I like the challenge of contributing to the team. Can I go to a third set and pull out a win for our team without choking? It’s one thing to win a Wednesday or Thursday evening fun match with your friends, but on Saturday morning, I ask myself if I can go “head-to-head” with a competitor I don’t know and get a point for the team.
Fourth, I like the challenge of supporting my team. If I am playing at the top of the lineup, it’s nice to stick around to watch the line 4 and 5 matches and show encouragement for those players. Those points are quite often the difference between a team win and a team loss. If I am at the bottom of the lineup, I try to show up early and watch our line 1 and 2 guys play their hearts out and win great matches. It inspires me to improve my game and try to move up in the lineup.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: Enjoy the challenges of the games within the game!