When tempers flare on court, a prestigious American university may have the answer...
Playing tennis is all about getting fit and improving and having fun but over the years, here at Tennis Towers, we can’t help but notice that sometimes tempers fray! What can be done? The best advice we know comes from across the pond from something called the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard University. Its team have written many a book on getting on negotiating and getting along with other people and to distil a library full of information into a few words, here are some ideas you can use.
Be soft on the people and tough on the problem
It can be hard to set up a match, to make a correct line call, to put up with cancellations, to deal with the rain, to find a babysitter, to cope with frustration – and tennis can be a very frustrating game. Whatever the difficulty you and your opponent are encountering, focus on the problem and how to solve it, not on the person.
Blaming the other person will get you nowhere.
People argue because they both think they are right. Each blames the other, both defend themselves and before can say 30-all you have a full scale row on your hands. So, the authors of Difficult Conversations, how to discuss what matters most, suggest:
- Instead of being certain, be curious – how does the other person see it?
- Instead of blame, understand contribution. Whatever the situation, you have both contributed to it
- And separate impact from intention - just because something has had a certain effect on you, it does not mean that was what they intended.
Still not convinced that this programme which has become something of a handbook for politicians and heads of state trying to sort out the world's trickiest diplomatic problems? Well perhaps a clue is in the origins of the "Getting to Yes" (as the best-selling book is called) idea.
It all began in 1978 when the late Roger Fisher, the man credited with inventing the scheme, got talking after a tennis match to US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance about how President Carter might manage the upcoming summit meeting beween Israel and Egypt. The result was the historic Camp David Accords.
Not quite love all, but a step in the right direction.