I was a shy, overweight teen with an amount of confidence you could fit in a thimble. My idea of exercise was curling a twinkie into my mouth and flexing my other bicep to guzzle some soda. My self esteem was almost non-existent, and I was incredibly unhappy.
Not exactly the ideal lifestyle.
Fortunately, a great friend persuaded me to go play some tennis with him one afternoon and that all began to shift.
What immediately struck me was how cathartic it was to whack this little green ball of fuzz and rubber over the net. I had found a release for all the angst I was experiencing as an adolescent. It was exhilarating and I didn't want to stop!
When we took breaks, I was shocked by how much time had passed, and by how much I was sweating. Working out was supposed to be a chore, but tennis was so fun that I never realized I was working out.
That day turned into a week of tennis, then a month, and then the entire summer. I played into the fall, and by spring, tryouts were approaching for the boys high school tennis team. I thought, "might as well go for it". I loved to play, and I thought I was getting pretty decent. Maybe I could make the team.
That fall, my doubles partner and I shockingly won the entire league. It was my first taste of athletic success, and I wanted more. I never thought I would be considered "an athlete". As a kid who was lacking self confidence, it was a tremendous boost to be recognized by my peers as a "good athlete" and all the advantages that came with it. In retrospect, this sowed the seed of developing true self worth and self esteem.
What was even better was the fact that I had lost 40 pounds and felt healthy. Surprisingly, girls were even starting to pay attention to me which was previously foreign territory.
I loved tennis so much, I continued to play intramurals while in my bachelors and masters programs, never thinking much other than this was a fun way to stay in shape.
Then, I met a man that changed my life. His name was Dave Dike and he was the greatest coach I'd ever met. He had a way of inspiring and teaching everyone by communicating in a way that touched each individual. He was able to affect tremendous positive change in everyone. It was after meeting Dave that I decided to dedicate my life to coaching.
Now I create HD tennis lessons at www.osatennis360.com that teach the fun in fundamentals of tennis. It's a tremendous honor and privilege to help so many people improve their skills and love of the game.
Tennis truly saved me from a life of obesity and timidity. I learned, through tennis, to go for everything I desire in life, and it is largely responsible for my ability to contribute today.