It’s finally time. The moment I’ve been waiting for is just around the corner.
Soon, I’m playing in my first tournament since my injury. (And my first tournament as a dad!) I’m incredibly excited and energized, and I’m trying to focus on that feeling. But I’ll be honest with you: I’m a little scared.
That’s hard to admit as an athlete. We’re taught that showing any sign of fear or vulnerability is a weakness because our opponent might use it to their advantage. (Here’s hoping my opponents aren’t following me here on this blog 😂)
But if being injured for so long has taught me anything, it’s humility—along with more acceptance around the fact that I’m human. And that’s not a weakness. (In fact, I think letting people see that side of you more often is a strength.)
Back to my upcoming tournament. Like I said, I’m so looking forward to the sensation of stepping back onto the court and playing the game I love for real. The energy of the crowd. The adrenaline of it all.
But I’m also full of apprehension… how will my foot hold up? What if it’s not fully healed and I mess it up again playing? (Yes, I’ve been training—but training matches are one thing. Real games are a lot more intense.) And then of course there’s that little part of me that’s worried about worrying: what if I’m so stressed about all this that it interferes with my concentration?
In moments like these, all you can do is a) simply accept the worries without trying to deny them and b) focus on the present. (Probably advice that can be applied to way more than just tennis. 😉) I do a lot of visualization, too, trying to give more of my attention to what excites me.
Another thing that helps is being flexible with my goals. It’s easy to feel like you always need to set a higher goal than the one before. That it’s unacceptable to shoot for anything less. My goal before getting injured was… to be the best! To get my highest ranking ever! To break all my previous records! I still want those things, of course. But it’s important to recognize which goals are right for where you’re really at right now, and be humble enough to adjust them to that truth.
Right now, my truth is that I’m an athlete coming back from an injury, and so my goal is simply to make a good, safe comeback. Rebuild my confidence. Rediscover my groove. I could talk a big talk about how I’m not worried at all, how I’m going to be #1, how I’m determined to show you all that I’m a big winner. But I think it’s a lot more inspiring to dare to show you my vulnerabilities.
In sports as in life, joy and pain come together as a package. See you on the court!
Until next time,