I'm a bit sore and sorry today - yesterday I played in a tennis tournament at the Morningside Tennis Centre. "B Grade" Singles to be precise - the lowest grading I could enter! I play tennis once per week, social doubles with mostly over 60s on a Thursday morning and I love it, so I was keen to see how my skills stacked up against the general tennis playing public.
Well, out the four round-robin pool matches I played, I lost the first 3 but managed to notch a win in the 4th. As I was playing each match, I was taking notice of the thoughts that came in to my head each time I hit a bad shot or lost a game I could have won. It was an interesting exercise to hear how often I was putting pressure on myself, how often I was giving myself new instructions, and how often I was calming myself down. One point at a time, as they say.
Before the day started, my goal was to win my way to the top of the group. As the morning progressed, and I realised that progression was unlikely, I found that I was able to adjust my goals. "New goal - I want to win one match!" I messaged to my wife. So despite the setbacks, I left the tournament feeling like I'd achieved a goal - maybe not the goal I set out to achieve beforehand, but a goal that I'd adjusted to as I went along.
The flexibility to adjust your goals and to listen to your internal doubts and instructions each time you practise is a fantastic skill to work on. When you sit down, the goal might be, "I'd love to play this from start to finish without mistakes." If that isn't happening for you at the time, are you more likely to get frustrated and give up, or adjust your goal to "I'm going to get more comfortable with the section that I'm making the mistakes in"?
Being flexible with your goals and being willing to adjust will hopefully make you finish every practise session feeling like a winner, regardless of the overall result.
Are you looking for ways to improve your practise routine? Find out more about lessons at Counterpoint Music in Brisbane here.
I've been thrilled to have some very eager participants put their hands up to play at the Catch-Up day on Sunday November 10, and we're now working hard on polishing their chosen songs. If you're unsure if you'd like to play, or even adamant that you don't, it's a great opportunity to put the finishing touches on a piece of music anyway. Who knows - if you have something to play, you might even change your mind on the day.
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: