3 Team Tips from a Successful Tennis Season
My tennis team just wrapped up a successful season where we started out with an unexpected and shocking loss – before rattling off 8 straight wins to capture our “flight”. This is “team tennis”, so the goal is to win 3 out of 5 matches (3 doubles and 2 singles). We lost our playoff this weekend 2-3…with two of our match losses coming down to tight 3rd set tiebreakers against quality opponents. Here are my 3 Team Tips from this very successful tennis season.
Team Tip #1: Gotta practice to expect great results
Actually, there is a Team Tip #0: actively recruit! Our captain would find players he liked – both on the court and off the court – and recruit them to join the team. He recruited me this season, and while I thought I was still mulling over options, he came out with an official roster with my name on it. OK, I guess I am playing for a new team…
What won me over to joining this team was their willingness to put in the efforts in the offseason to improve their tennis game. We did weekly drills, and we would alternate between encouraging each other…and ragging on each other relentlessly when making a bad shot. Those efforts on the practice court directly correlated with the match wins we had during the season.
Team Tip: Do your teammates put in the hours, the cross-training, and the education commitment to ensure they are performing at their very best when it counts?
Team Tip #2: Good team culture inspires others to join
Actually, it wasn’t just the work ethic that convinced me to play for this team. The natural camaraderie on the team was enticing. We registered for tournaments and encouraged each other – even when playing against each other at some of the tournaments! Our captain, Rick, had 2 simple rules:
- Don’t be a ****
- Beer must be 3Cs (Cold, Craft, and Canned)
Break the rules, and you get benched for the next week. So I got used to drinking craft beer out of a can!
With “rules” like that, you can see why we had opponents coming up to us after matches to see if there were openings on the team next season…we had a fun team.
Team Tip: Commit to create a team culture that attracts newcomers. Great team cultures are natural and effective recruiting tools!
Team Tip #3: Congratulate for wins AND losses
When we lost the first match of the season, we did not get down. We encouraged each other and started winning. When we lost the playoff match over the weekend, congratulatory emails were flying around within a couple of hours. People had FUN, and they sincerely applauded the team efforts. They also took the time to give special thanks to a captain who kept it fun AND organized.
That kind of positive atmosphere, without the finger pointing that can typically follow a loss, builds team loyalty and trust going into next season.
Team Tip: Celebrate the wins, but also celebrate the valiant efforts in a loss. Build a culture of trust and loyalty.
Here is the corresponding video for this blog post. I am appropriately dressed in tennis attire in celebration of a successful tennis season – and in preparation for going out and winning my match in the 40-and-over league tonight!