An attitude of gratitude
Over the past year, we’ve all been focused on staying healthy, being with family and keeping our jobs or our businesses afloat—all, obviously, important aspects of our lives and livelihoods.
But as we power through this pandemic and try to keep things together in the tennis industry, one thing that seems to be more and more important to me—and something I feel many in this business may take for granted—is the idea of gratitude.
I have to admit, I never gave this much thought in the past. Yes, I’ve always felt thankful that I was involved in an industry that helped to positively influence people’s lives, and I’ve felt grateful for all the friends and colleagues I’ve made over the years through tennis. But I never really considered the key role “gratitude” can and should play in this industry.
Two coaches, in particular, have helped me to realize the importance of gratitude in this business. Angelo Rossetti, a tennis director and former president of USTA Connecticut, is one of the most positive people I’ve ever met—and he never hesitates to tell others how grateful he is to be able to improve people’s lives through tennis. He recently published the book “Tennacity: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court,” in which he writes, “If you replace expectations with gratitude, then you will not sweat the small stuff and [will] think about others before yourself.”
Longtime coach and educator Kirk Anderson, a former USTA national and PNW sectional staffer who is working on an upcoming coaching book for youth tennis, considers gratitude one of the top characteristics of a great coach. “Be thankful for what you have and what you are able to do,” Kirk says. “Coaches with an attitude of gratitude are more positive … [they] consider coaching as a calling, not a job.”
Kirk goes on to point out that for coaches, there is a positive correlation between effectiveness, success and satisfaction for those who practice gratitude. “Positive and grateful people are the ‘pied pipers’ in the coaching world, and young people are attracted to these individuals,” he says. “The best coaches don’t coach from the head, but from the heart. Being grateful will help you perform at your best.”
We see people rotating into and out of the tennis industry all the time. But it seems the ones who stay, who truly seem to have an impact on this sport and the people involved in it, are the ones who love what they do and understand why they do it. “People quit a job,” says Kirk, “they don’t quit a calling.”
Whether as a tennis teaching pro/coach, facility owner/manager/staff, park and rec person, tennis manufacturer sales rep or manager, tennis media person, or other industry volunteer or professional, practice gratitude. Practice being thankful for what we have and for what we bring to this sport—and especially, what we bring to others.
“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins,” says author Neale Donald Walsch. That’s a sentiment I think we all can embrace during these challenging times.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine (www.tennisindustrymag.com)
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