Tennis and Mediation?

Jul 24, 2020

I am a family and divorce mediator. I also play tennis. In fact, I play a lot of tennis—three to four times a week (when not sheltered at home).

So why would I write about tennis and mediation in the same article?
The answer is simple—playing tennis and participating in the divorce mediation process require similar skills.

1. Focus Under Stress
A good tennis player maintains concentration in the face of physical stress—running down an opponent’s good shot, returning a blazing fast serve. This requires immense concentration.

Your ability to focus will allow for the best possible decisions to guide your future.

In divorce mediation, under the emotional stress of a life in transition, your ability to focus will allow you to make the best possible decisions for your future. A skilled divorce mediator creates a safe space to promote concentration and focus.

2. Confidence and Control
The best tennis players are able to play with confidence and control their minds to achieve the concentration and focus that are necessary to win matches. As an intermediate player, when things aren’t going my way, it’s easy to lose confidence, and I often can feel the match getting away from me.

In divorce mediation, it is easy to be distracted by uncertainty, fear, anger and sadness. As a divorce mediator, I strive to bring a positive attitude and energy to share with my clients to help them feel as comfortable as possible. I aim to promote their self-confidence and belief in themselves, thereby fostering their ability to process information and make appropriate decisions.

3. Accomplishment
After two hours of tennis, win or lose, I look back on the time I’ve spent and feel rewarded by the exercise I’ve completed and my efforts to do my best. I am filled with a sense of calm and relaxation. At the same time, I’m aware of how dripping wet I am from the hard work of running all over the tennis court!

In divorce mediation, you get to feel the accomplishment of having participated in creating a plan for your future, a future that you and your spouse have decided for yourselves. You have transformed uncertainty into a clearer picture of what lies ahead. And like a tennis player finishing a match, you’re likely to be tired, because after all, it was hard work!

One last thought: in my best tennis matches, I’ve felt that I’ve worked harder than my opponent. In most successful divorce mediations, my clients have worked harder than I, since it is their lives and futures that are at stake.