Trance Helping Returns
During one training session I was experimenting with different techniques to get me in the same state as when I looked at this tennis ball for hours on end. I often would try different things to help me with get a small advantage. This time My eyes started focusing on the small granules of the surface below before I hit my returns. In tennis you generally lift your head to let the server know you are ready, so they can go ahead and serve, and I would keep my head low until I had cleared my thoughts and was ready to return.
So as my head was low, I would look at the court below psyching myself up before every serve. The more I looked at the court, the more I saw the incredible detail In every square inch. Each inch was different, it had different colours in it, it seemed to be made up of lost of different materials and layers. Before this time I had always seen a tennis court as a tennis court, some where cemented some were grass, some were made of clay. Now I was looking at each surface with new eyes. Soon the square inch became a square centimetre, and the square centimetre became a square millimetrer. I started focusing on the smallest of detail I could find on the surface below, whether that was a blade of grass, a sparkle on the cement, or a grip of clay or sand.
Focusing on this detail seemed to put me in a trance like state, where I had no thoughts, no distractions, I was simply observing. It was a quiet place, where I could recently myself, regather my thoughts and clean the slate of my brain before the next point. I started moving this square millimetre further and further away, always trying to remain focused on one small piece of detail. Over time, the tiny detail was at the foot of the net. I would stand there bent knees, head down, preparing for the serve. Meanwhile I was staring at the surface of the net looking for a tiny detail in the surface. Once I had it I would look up and the oncoming ball seemed far bigger than it ever used. I was used to focusing on something tiny on a millimetre wide, let alone looking at a ball the size of an apple.
Not only did the ball seem big, I felt completely connected with what I had to do one every return. The noise had left my head and I simply looked of at the ball and responded.
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