Similarities Between Business and Tennis

I recently joined my local tennis club, as Wimbledon has also started today, playing in my local park meant waiting around for a court to be free, which at times would be hours.  So instead I decided to join my local tennis club, where I had more freedom, of coming and playing when I like, along with networking with others within the club.

Tennis  is extremely challenging sport, which can really test your fitness levels, it requires:

  • Skill
  • Patience
  • Power
  • Stamina
  • Game plan
  • and I’m sure much more… I am not a pro, but I do enjoy playing the sport.

How Business and Tennis are similar

First of all playing with your opponent is like facing your competitors in the real world, you never know what to expect, and what they may have in store for you that day. It could be an easy ride or you can really be put to a test. Whatever the case you as a challenger (business owner) need to be fully prepared regardless.

Stamina: You as a player need to have stamina, to keep up with your components pace, if you are to slow they will easily win the point, at times you would be playing against new opponents, and you may not know their stamina well or how well they perform. You would need to be ready for such situations, as at times the game can last longer than you expected, and if you do not have the stamina, you can get tired and easily lose the point or the game.

In business, you need to be on the ball, ahead of the game, so that you keep up the pace with the major players in your market. A slight drop from your end, can leave you miles behind, and before you know it your competitors are lightning  years ahead of you. So in business you need to have the stamina to stay in business for the long. Whatever comes your way, you will not slip or fall behind, and if you do, you will be on the ball to quickly catch up.

Skills: In tennis, you can probably get a decent game going by swinging the racket, but to get the ball to do what YOU want it to do requires skill. Such as knowing how much spin to put onto it, positioning of yourself on the court, the amount of power you put into the swing, reading the balls movements. All this requires skill, and will come with practice, and how well you know your component.

In business again, you can get the basic day to day transactions happening, but to really step up the game and stay competitive you do need some level of skill. Now this skill doesn’t mean in sports terms, but the knowledge of how the market is doing, whom your competitors are, general day to day business tasks, managing a team, all this requires skill. Also positioning your product in the market, along with promoting it.

Patience:  In sports there is always the urgency to quickly win some points and get clear of your competitors. What I find in tennis, is having a bit of patience can pay off. Waiting for the right shot, waiting for your opponent to make a mistake, or even you playing with the opponent until they get tired and create some space for the winning shot. Patience is truly a key to success.

Same in business, things do not happen overnight, although we all wished it was as easy as this, but the true reality is it takes time, whatever you are doing, especially online business, it takes while for you to build your brand awareness online, driving traffic to your sites, and really getting things going. Again the key to success is patience, and sticking to it.

Power: Having a bit of power in tennis is good, but to use it correctly and to control it. You can easily get carried away, and put in a lot of power into your shots, but if you don’t know how to control it, you most probably would lose the point, and even the game.

In business power is money, having good funding behind your business, whether its your own saving, banks, loans…etc, if you have a bit of cash flow, you can quite easily excel and invest in some areas which would boost your business. But again similar to tennis, you need to know when and how to use this funding, if you get carried away, you probably find yourself spilling money down the drain, and eventually finishing your cash flow, and putting your business to danger.

Game Plan: Depending on what type of game you are playing, you would have some sort of game plan, whether it is a defensive, attack, or slightly more technical, you have pictured it  in your mind how you want this game to go, and during the game, you will try to stick to it so that you can win.

Similar in business, game plan is your Business Plan. When establishing your business you have probably set in your mind, or business plan, how you are going to carry out tasks, daily activities, the marketing, and generally how you want your business to run on a day to day biases.  Whatever your business plan is you will have a plan of action, which on a day to day biases you will aim to follow, so that your business stays on track and you do not lose focus.

These are some similarities that I have found between tennis and business.

Overall it’s a mind game, when setting up a business, having the correct mindset, right attitude, and approach to situations can make each day of your business enjoyable and also productive. It than doesn’t matter whom you face or who your competitors are, you know within yourself you can achieve what you want to achieve, if you stick to it.

What is your opinion, in what sport do you see similarities of business and how?


Image from: SXC

Article By: Wasim Ismail

Wasim’s a project manager at Alrayes Web Solutions along with an online SEO consultant & blogger for business at, specialising in online business.

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