I was at the public courts in Virginia Beach yesterday. I was all done practicing my serve when an older man walked up to the court. He said, “Hey do you have an extra racquet in there (referring to my bag)?”
The man was walking so slowly that I wasn’t sure if he could run at all or if he could hit the ball. I said, “I sure do” and I gave him a spare racquet and started hitting with him very gently.
He could hit the ball consistently if you hit it easy and right to him. I wasn’t getting too much out of the exercise, but I have too much respect for my elders and I just didn’t have the heart to blow him off and leave or lie about not having another racquet handy.
So what did I do? I decided to take the opportunity to practice. I’ve always had trouble looking away from the ball at the last 1/5 of it’s flight (read my 4/5 article) so I made it a point to TOTALLY FOCUS on the ball no matter where he hit it.
I also, made up a game he didn’t know about where I would pick a spot on the court near him and try to make my shot land exactly on the spot I had picked. He didn’t know I was doing any of this. It was practice only in my head.
Bottom line is I treated an old tennis player with respect and got some practice for myself at the same time. What could be better?