You have to lose to win

I’m a perfectionist. Plain and simple. Anyone who knows me knows that. I’m a hard worker. I have big dreams and go for the gold. Every time. Everyday of my life is lived at 110 percent. It’s not exhausting. It’s who I am. It’s the only thing I know. Thanks, mom. However, if I’ve learned anything from sports it’s that being a perfectionist doesn’t work. You will strike out. You will double fault. You will struggle.

My mental game improved tremendously in college while playing softball. I was a leader and quickly learned I had to carry myself like one no matter how many ground balls I missed or how many times I popped up. I always told myself things would get better. And the only way I could be sure that was true was by having a short term
memory, accepting that it was only through failure I could get better and succeed. Almost every time after I struck out looking, the next at bat I hit a home run. I went back to the bench and thought about how to improve for the next time. After all, the perfectionist in me could never let that happen again.

Now that I’m training for tennis again, for the U.S. Open qualifying tournament, regaining mental strength is asimportant as physical endurance. Part of my persistence is just who I am as a person, but on the tennis court, perfection is out the window. It doesn’t exist. And it’s only when you can accept your mistakes, learn from them, and immediately move on without beating yourself up over them that you will win, no matter what the final score.

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