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Love to Play, Not to Talk

Posted by C.L. R.

I have to rant for a minute and maybe, hopefully, someone can give me some advice. I love to play tennis but I'm really not that good. I'm say, medium to medium-low. The problem is, I want to play more so that I can get better, but the only friend who's at my level loves to talk. She wants to talk through the entire game and it drives me bananas. Once I tried to suggest that we play while listening to our I-Pods but she was like, "What, you don't want to talk to me?" And I didn't want to be rude and say, No I want to play tennis. But come on! Does anyone know how to get a sports chatter to stop chatting? I know the obvious answer would be to stop playing with her altogether, but like I said - she's the only one I know at my skill level. I'd feel weird answering an ad or something asking for a tennis partner (come on, we've all considered it) but at this point, I don't know what to do other than avoid playing. Help!
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Well I play Basketball with a lot of people that enjoy talking a lot more then actually playing. It was upsetting for a while, but I worked up a strategy to make them concentrate on playing. I tend to bet things that I'll win. Make the other person have incentives to try. Play for dinner or lunch or something small. Play best of a series, for instance best of seven. Nobody likes losing 4 straight games. Try the entire time and be obvious that you're trying.
Thanks, that is good advice. There is something to be said for a competitive nature and if people have something to work for, they are much more likely to try. Since I posted this, I decided to take a risk and throw on my Ipod during a match. I didn't ask for my partner's permission - I just told her I was having a bad day and was going to have to listen to some music while we played. It made such a difference! I got in the zone and played better than I had in ages. After the game, I raved about how great it was to play with music and she said she would try it next time. Problem might be solved... but to top it off, I'm going to use your suggestion. That way, if she doesn't like listening to music, she'll at least try and focus on winning.
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