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A Weight Loss Lesson from the Tennis Court

Posted Apr 21 2009 11:09pm

There are basically two ways to win a tennis game.

In the first, you hit "winners"- shots that are absolutely un-returnable, killer smashes, put-aways, or balls that are perfectly placed where your opponent is not. Your poor opponent looks helplessly as the ball sails to a part of the court where they can't possibly get to, and you win the point.

I spend an awful lot of time playing tennis and an awful lot of time trying to hit "winners" and an awful lot of time being frustrated because most of my "winners" wind up well outside the lines of the court, losing me the point.

Yesterday, my Zen master of a tennis teacher- Delroy Reid- asked me to try a different approach. (Stay with me on this- it's going to be relevant for weight loss and- truth be told- for life itself.)

Here's what he said- " Keep the ball in play".

Now this might not seem like such a radical concept, but consider this-- Even if you don't have a terrific shot, even if you have lousy placement, even if you're a C level player- if you hit everything back, what do you think is going to happen?

I'll tell you, because I've tried it.

Your opponent is going to miss.

He's going to get frustrated, he's going to lose patience, he's going to try for a winner, and unless he's a pro level player, most of the time he's going to miss his shot.

And you're going to win.

Get where I'm going with this?

Most people don't succeed at the weight loss game because they keep trying to hit "winners". There are no "winners" in weight loss. Infomercials promise them- " lose 16 pounds in a week"- but trust me, the only people who do well on those programs are the people who sell them.

But what if you just "kept the ball in play"?

That means not expecting miracles, staying patient, staying in the game, hitting back whatever ball life throws you (like a plateau)- preferably with a smile- and just, well, staying in the game.

You can't win that game unless you stay in it.

Unfortunately, too many of us give up. In weight loss and in life.

Maybe the key to winning in weight loss- and come to think of it, in life- is simply keeping the ball in play.

As Woody Allen used to say, "90 percent of life is just about showing up".

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