I constantly bang on about the 'life-skill' virtues of tennis. Even written a book about it.
The 'team ethic' however, is one that can easily become an under-developed life-skill in our youngsters as they pursue their competitive tennis journeys. The 1:1, individualistic nature of our sport can quickly lead to a 'all about me' mentality where it's all about the player's wants/needs/ambitions. Not a great quality out in the workplace....or anywhere really.
Doubles and 'team tennis' at least puts the break on this and helps players:
- put needs and ambitions of the team/organisation ahead of theirs
- play a 'role' in the team that may be one they wouldn't normally play and one in which they might not be the star
- encourage and motivate others even after an bad loss themselves
- lead by example
- to be prepared to accept a tough decision and support from the bench/sidelines
- communicate more
- see the bigger picture
- take responsibility when the 'time' comes
So some advice for our players.
Play your County.
Play your Club.
Play for your school.
Enter the 'dubs' whenever you can - put your 'fatigue' and 'what's best for me aside' and learn to be a team player.