January 16, 2009

Are You the Tennis Partner No One Wants to Play With?

Believe it or not, there are some ladies no one wants to partner with! They are not bad players. In fact, they may be pretty darn good. They make their shots. They win more than they lose. But, for a variety of reasons, these ladies just take all of the fun out of playing tennis. Make sure your name is not on this list of "The Tennis Partners No One Want To Play With!"

1. Are you partnered with "Bossy Betty"? Bossy Betty tells you where to stand, where to hit the ball, what you're doing wrong and what you need to do to correct all of your mistakes. She usually starts all of this before you even get on the court and will continue throughout the match. Partnering with Bossy Betty will require you to be patient and very in control of your emotions.

2. Are you partnered with "Coaching Cathy"? Coaching Cathy spends most of her time between points and on changeovers telling you how to improve your game. She doesn't claim to be a tennis pro but because she has taken many, many lessons over the years, playing with her is, in her opinion, the next best thing to playing with a pro by your side. She will instruct you throughout the match but will pay almost no attention to what exactly the problem on the court is. You will have to take her coaching in stride and just play your game as best you can.

3. Are you partnered with "Blaming Betsy"? Blaming Betsy is sure that your team is losing because you are not doing your job. Unlike Bossy Betty and Coaching Cathy, Betsy doesn't have any real insight into what is going wrong and doesn't have any good ideas about how to turn things around. She just knows that it's all your fault and wants to make sure you know it too. Again, you will need patience and a positive attitude to make it through the match with Blaming Betsy.

4. Are you partnered with "Hooking Hannah"? "Hooking" is what we call cheating in tennis and Hannah will be hooking right from the start of your match. You may not be 100% sure on your calls but Hannah is always positive on her's. And her calls always seem to work in her favor. You will often find yourself in the uncomfortable position of seeing a ball "in" that Hannah called "out" in which case, you are supposed to correct your partner. But correcting Hannah all the time is no fun and can certainly lead to a rift in your partnership during the match. Just remember to call them as you see them, point out any "errors" in Hannah's calls when necessary, and leave the match feeling good about yourself.

5. Are you partnered with "Talkative Teresa"? Talkative Teresa is pleasant enough to be around. She just won't stop talking. She talks between points. She talks on the changeovers. Between sets, she wants to sit down and have a good, long conversation. The problem with all of her friendly chat is that it can be very distracting. For her, for you and even for your opponents. You will need to be sure YOU are not hanging out, participating in these talks if you want them to end. And you may need to tell Talkative Teresa how hard it is for you to focus with all of the chatting.

6. Are you partnered with "Negative Nora"? Negative Nora is having a bad day today. She is having a bad day every time she steps on the court. The other team is playing "down" and should be at a higher line. The other team is cheating. She wasn't supposed to play today anyway. And her knee is hurting. If she gets down too far in a match score-wise, she is just throwing in the towel because she knows she is going to lose. And guess what? You are going to lose right along with her! When playing with Negative Nora, your job will be to keep things positive. No matter what. You can always make a big comeback in tennis, even when you're very far down so keep right on playing and try to bring Nora around.

7. Are you partnered with "Gloaty Gladys"? If Negative Nora is a sore loser, then Gloaty Gladys is the opposite - a gloaty winner! She fist pumps on her good shots! She fist pumps on her lucky mis-hits! She fist pumps on the points she wins when her shot somehow dribbles over the net cord onto the other side! And, most embarrasingly, she fist pumps on points she wins on the other team's errors! Gloaty Gladys sees herself as just another aggressive player. Is it a breach of tennis etiquette to celebrate her opponents' errors? She just doesn't see it. You probably will have to put up with this throughout the match. Perhaps complimenting your opponents on their great shots will bring some level of civility to the match.

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