April tip of the month: exploring the role of trust in timing

Another argument for poor timing is I didn’t watch the ball’ or poor concentration.

This explanation implies control. It implies that if we were focused or concentrated our timing would be there. It implies that if we did A, then B would follow.

Having control somehow makes us more comfortable than uncertainty.

But is this true? Do we have control over timing? What is the nature of timing?

For me, timing is not tangible. It is not something we can calculate. When do take the racket back? When exactly do we bring it forward? No one can tell us anything about these things. We have to be present and we have to trust.

Trust is difficult to attain. Most of us are control freaks. We want to know and we want to be sure. However, this is impossible. The future, by definition, is something that has not happened and what will actually happen, we can never be sure about.

How comfortable can we be in not-knowing? Can we accept the reality of not-knowing and relax into it?

For the hands to be in sync with the ball requires you being there. But, because of the endless dialogue in our mind caused by the feelings of doubt, fear and desire to be sure, being there becomes impossible.

The best players in the world seem to prepare early and then wait in that position for the ball to come. The shorter distance involved in bringing the racket from the preparation position to contact seems to make timing easier.

Club players, however, very rarely prepare early. Consequently, their rackets have to travel a longer distance to contact, therefore making timing much more difficult.

So early preparation seems to be a key to good timing. However, the most important ingredient to good timing, in my opinion, is trust.

Club players do not trust their athletic skills and therefore try hard to make contact and this ‘trying’ makes them tight, thus slowing the swing and making it jerky, which obviously renders good timing extremely difficult.

However, the perils of wanting control are not limited to players of any particular playing ability, but are part of the human condition.

So how do we develop trust?

Most people do it through hours of practice. The more times you perform a certain action, the more certain you will be that you can, indeed, perform that action. However, this is not really trust, it is a belief and beliefs are fragile and can fall away in the face of a little adversity.

We have to nurture trust off the court. As we explore trust off the court in our every day lives, the more likely it will be to show up on the tennis court.

We can nurture trust by bringing more attention to our bodies as we go about our daily routines.

We can explore trust by moving into uncomfortable situations that we would normally avoid.

We can experiment with trust by watching silently and without judgment as thoughts pass endlessly through our minds.

We can explore trust by observing the lack of trust we have and how we try and control almost all facets of our Life, from big decisions to everyday minor actions.

Find your own ways to explore trust!