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My Headspace #9 The Spiritual Side

Everyone knows that a tremendous amount of self-talk goes on inside our heads. Some say that, on average, we have 65,000 thoughts a day. It's also well-established since the research repeatedly confirms that approximately 70% of our self-talk is negative. That's the default. So, if 70% is standard, then an above-average person may only have 50% negative thoughts, while people who are on the verge of mental illness or have a mental illness have negative thoughts closer to 100% of the time.

As coaches and players, it's important to start managing our thoughts better, and one way I do that is at church. Yep, church—you heard right. I also study the Bible five or six days a week for 30 minutes because that helps me manage my thinking.

Over the weekend, my church had a men's conference, so I gave up a Saturday of teaching because this annual event is a deep dive into what makes us tick as men. It's also essential to belong to a community that is NOT part of my vocation because I don't need any help obsessing about tennis. Instead, the guys are all there to talk through some stuff and figure out a few things together. Of course, now I'm one of the old heads, but the younger guys also bring some wisdom.

The topic for the weekend was how to branch out into being better at feeling our way through life, better connecting with our wives, children, and family, and being more available to other people we care about. Overall, it was pretty exhausting to spend three hours on a Friday night and six hours on a Saturday going through this, but there were also meals and some fun activities, and some existing friendships were formed and new ones established.

Tennis people and tennis coaches tend to isolate themselves, and maybe they only come together for a workshop or a conference. Here is the challenge I want to give to you today. Call a tennis pro buddy that you haven't seen for a while and check in on them. You never know; you might catch them at a time of need, or you can say you were thinking about them and wondered what was up; you might even plan to get together to hit a few balls, grab a meal, or have a bubbly beverage. The more you do these kinds of outreach, the more you may find that people also reach out to you.

Here are a few things I hope you take away.

  1. Yes, you have negative, judgemental thoughts, just like everyone. Capture those and try to turn them into positives.

  2. Get with people outside the game, and find a way to dig into the spiritual side of life.

  3. Our connections with people are more important than our coaching ability.

  4. Try showing some emotion, let people know how you feel about them, and you might be surprised at how life gets a little more rich.


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