It’s a mental game from the serving line. I spent many years playing volleyball, which meant thousands of chances to ace or miss a serve, or something in between. It’s a unique position to be in, on that back line, ball in hand, whistle blown, and ten seconds to start the next play. Life lessons come from those seconds, from that pressure, from that pause and those opportunities both missed and met.
Pause. When all eyes are on you and this could mean changing the momentum of the game, or continuing it. It could mean finishing the game, match, tournament, or season. It could mean just putting the ball in play so the 12 people on the court could set up a miraculous play. Sometimes there is enormous pressure on that line, and other times there is space enough to risk something more. Regardless of the pressure and the pace, you always have those ten seconds. To pause. Breathe. Say a prayer and focus on that one thing. The crowd disappears, the pressure feeds you. Visualize where you’re putting the ball, like you’ve done a thousand times before when no one was watching. It’s muscle memory and mental toughness. It will carry you through life if you remember this lesson, practiced over and over. You proved it to yourself again and again. You’re a gamer. You rise to the pressure. It brings out the best in you.