Advice From a Champion
The second of a three-part Sports Series
Billy Jean King is a champion.
Sep 20, 1973 : King had already won 10 singles championships when 30,492 fans squeezed into the Houston Astrodome to witness the so-called “Battle of the Sexes,” while an estimated 90 million people worldwide watched on television. Normally a serve-and-volley player, King made a conscious effort to wear Riggs down with baseline rallies. ..more from the History Channel
King retired from competitive singles tennis in 1983, having won 12 major titles, including six Wimbledons and four U.S. Opens. She also helped found a women’s players union, a women’s sports magazine, a nonprofit advocacy group for female athletes and a team tennis league. Yet she still remains best known for a single victory.
“I know that when I die, nobody at my funeral will be talking about me,” she once said. “They’ll all just be standing around telling each other where they were the night I beat Bobby Riggs.”
.. Not so Billy Jean, we'll be talking about you for a long time to come. However, I was nine years old and watched the last set with my mother.
Here are three tips from Billy Jean King to consider as you volley through your life:
1. Bring All of Yourself: Preparation in practice is the key to bringing all of yourself. Some players try to hold back in practice, saving their “best” for the match. Champions don’t. If you don’t practice with the same intensity that you plan to bring to the match, you can undermine your performance.
2. See It Happen to Make It Happen: Before the Battle of the Sexes with Bobby Riggs, King mentally pictured herself in a rally, running down shots, making the right decisions. She pictured how she would serve and where she would place the ball. She worked to control her thoughts about the match and think positively at all times. Visualization helped prepare her for many of the eventualities of the match.
3. Never Underestimate Your Opponent: “I think it is far better to overestimate your opponent than to underestimate him or her. My parents taught me to prepare to bring your ‘A’ game to everything, which shows respect for your opponent and yourself.”
( from the book Pressure is a Privilege by Billy Jean King and Christine Brennen and the Championship Performance newsletter):
noun ( pl. volleys )
1 a number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time: the infantry let off a couple of volleys.
• a series of utterances directed at someone in quick succession: he unleashed a volley of angry questions.
• Tennis an exchange of shots.
2 (in sports, esp. tennis or soccer) a strike or kick of the ball made before it touches the ground.