High Strung

At the age of 13, I fell in love with tennis. My life revolved around the game for many years, ultimately leading to me playing collegiately for two years. Sadly, I stopped cold turkey due to the responsibilities of parenthood. But, after a 30-year absence, I have picked the game up again. And I love it today, just like I did at 13.

Today, I play with a Babolat racquet. This model suggests string tensions between 52-58 lbs. In tennis, a looser string tension generates more power with less control over the ball. With a tighter string tension, you have more control over the game. You may see where this story is headed.

I like it tight. It is fun to try to gain complete control over the ball. The drawbacks, however, are numerous. You need to produce the power, and it can wreak havoc on your elbow. Also, stringing your racquet too tight can easily break it by putting so much tension on the frame.

Recently, I went to my local pro shop and asked the pro to re-string my Babolat to 65 lbs. He replied, “The manufacturer recommends no higher than 58 lbs. Are you cool with me just doing that?” I reluctantly agreed.

The next day, I picked the racquet up, and within 20 minutes of playing, I had cut out all the new strings. I could not stand the new string job. The ball was going all over the place. I had lost all my feel.

I walked back to the pro and said, “I really think I need this strung to 65 lbs.” He laughed, “You realize you are the definition of too high strung?” I said, “Yep, and I have come to terms with that.”

High strung, wound too tight, call it what you want. I have been called this ever since I can remember, and I am okay with it. I recognize that my strings will snap more than they should and I will break more racquets than most. This is a value proposition I can live with.

The key for all of us to be successful is being capable of an honest assessment of who we are and accessing the right tools to manage the results.

Recently, our agency signed up for a comprehensive employee assistance plan called “My Strength.” It gives each member of the team access to unlimited virtual visits with licensed psychologists to help support strong mental health. We live in a very complex world. And we need to be okay talking to others about how to manage our lives best.

Beyond that, I recommend finding things that you can do on your own to bring yourself back to center. For all the tension in my racquets and my body, tennis brings me back. I can’t prescribe to anyone what their thing should be, but I do think there is real value in physical exertion. Whatever it is—take joy in the uniqueness of yourself and find time to unwind from time to time.

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