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Good things come to those who wait.

Patience is a virtue.

We are all familiar with various proverbs and adages about patience and its value. We are also aware that when learning, being patient through mistakes allows us to keep enough focus so that those mistakes are lessons.

During one of our recent sessions with the Juniors tennis players, patience for process was one of the underlying messages. No one used the word. No one announced, “Be patient.” But patience was required of every single person on the court.

Coach Guy takes the time to correct the foundations of the sport, right down to where your pinky should be on the racket. It’s hard for these young beginners to see the point, and they can actually become impatient. We do, after all, live in a time where most of what we might want can be on our doorstep in two days or even sooner.

Players responded differently as they waited their turn. Some were listening carefully and would shadow the movement of the player being corrected as a form of practice for themselves. Some ran to the courtside for water. Occasionally, there was the deep sigh of “Again?” Even Coach Guy had to remind himself that one or two of the players were first-timers and demonstrate a different level of patience with them.

Moving forward, these young players will begin to hear people speak directly of patience on the court. Patience in the heat of competition is something I admire in other players and continue to work on. Striking the balance between playing aggressively and being patient is a challenge. The payoff for keeping your cool is often a winning point. And, as Edmund Burke says, “Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

These Juniors who are simply learning to wait their turn are, unknowingly, learning much, much more.


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