That was it, I had had enough! I was just about ready to give up on tennis. Another tennis lesson taken, but, no improvement made. It would just never work out; being an American in Germany, who only spoke English, taking lessons from a German tennis coach who only spoke German. As I walked off the court, dissatisfied, to meet my mom in the lobby of the indoor tennis court hall, I noticed her speaking with an American woman, slightly older than her, yet very youthful in appearance and personality. She then introduced herself to me as I approached my mom. "Hi, I'm Gina, nice to meet you." Regina Monte is an American tennis pro who lives in Germany with a job as a flight attendant for Lufthansa. Ever since the day I met Gina my life has changed. Gina has helped shape who I am today and continues to do so.
My mom scheduled a lesson for me with Gina shortly after meeting her. The lesson began with a discussion of the basics of tennis and a stretch. We then moved on to some footwork drills. I didn't even pick up my beginners racket until halfway through the lesson. As I struggled to hit a forehand shot over the net, Gina patiently guided me through, step by step. Unlike my previous coach, Gina was patient with me and stressed the importance of being patient with myself. I used to get frustrated and give up on tasks if I couldn't complete them in a certain time. Through Gina's advice, I've learned that you should never expect to be good at something right away. Instead, one should be optimistic, paying attention to improvements and noting where progress can be made.
Another important lesson I have learned from Gina is how to handle a loss. Before taking lessons from Gina, I would always let my losses get to me. After I had taken lessons from Gina for a year, and was in the 10th grade playing the number two position for the Varsity Tennis team, Gina came to one of my matches. I was playing an opponent who I knew was beatable. He had the most unorthodox form, terrible footwork, but seemingly hit every shot I hit to him back. I quickly became frustrated, forgetting the first thing I learned from Gina, patience. I tried to get the match over with; I hit my strokes powerfully, paying little attention to form. Before I knew it, the match was over, I lost 8-1. As I walked off the court in shame and disgust I was immediately intercepted by Gina. Gina discussed the match with me, telling me to let it go and not let it affect my mental game for my upcoming doubles match. Although I was disappointed in my performance and felt I could have beaten my opponent, Gina stressed that he still beat me and I needed to give him credit and show good sportsmanship. I believe all aspects of life should be approached similarly. When we are unsuccessful, we must examine the reasons why, make a plan so it does not happen again, give credit where it is due, and not let our failures discourage us. My junior year my doubles partner and I placed 4th in doubles in the DODDS (Department Of Defense Dependents Schools) European championships, however, my singles season record was a horrible 2-4. Despite my success and focus in doubles, I vowed to have a better singles record my senior year. Rather than letting my poor performance discourage me, I used it as motivation to get better. In the off-season I trained hard and focused my efforts on my singles as well as doubles. Having gaining a whole new confidence and appreciation for singles, I went undefeated in singles this season.
As my skills progressed I began to realize improvement was not coming as fast as it used to. Gina explained to me that I had reached a plateau and that in order to continue improving I would have to work harder. One aspect of my game which seemed as though it would never improve after two years of lessons was my two handed backhand. Gina and I decided that a one handed backhand would feel more natural to me. When I began the switch a year ago, I felt helpless. I could not keep up in matches. If a fast paced shot was hit to my backhand I was doomed. Through Gina's encouragement and persistence, the one handed backhand has become one of the most powerful weapons in my tennis arsenal. It took many months of patience, but I have found that the hard work was undoubtedly worth it.
One can plateau in anything, whether it is school or athletics. When I began my junior year I took Advanced Placement classes for the first time. They were much more challenging than the honors courses I had taken my sophomore year. Initially, I felt I would never be able to improve my academics to meet the demands of A.P. courses. One area I had particular trouble in was multiple choice questions in both my A.P. US History and English classes. After analyzing how I took the test, I realized I needed to work faster and not linger on the more difficult problems. By simply changing my pacing during the multiple choice tests, I dramatically improved my scores. Like my tennis game, I worked that much harder and feel I reached my full potential in my A.P. classes.
Gina has had a profound effect on my life. She has helped shape not only the tennis player I am, but also the person I am today. I have learned so many lessons from Gina and I strive to apply all of them to my life, both on and off the tennis court.
I noticed a couple of issues:
"Gina has helped shape the who I am today and continues to do so."
This sentence would sound cleaner as "has helped shape who I am today" without "the".
"I used to get frustrated and give up on tasks if I couldn't complete them in a certain time, . through Gina's advice I've learned that you should never expect to be good at something right away"
You can separate these sentences to make each idea more important, but it is a style choice.
"I lost the pro set 8-1. "
Maybe it is just me, but I don't know much about tennis and was distracted by what a pro set was, a description (if you want to emphasize this aspect of the game) or just simplifying to "I lost 8-1" might help other readers who don't have tennis background.
In the 3rd paragraph you note a couple of times that you are better than your opponent, you may want to try to lighten up this commentary. Although it is important to the story that you lost to someone you should have beaten, you come off somewhat negative. Focus more on how you readjusted your attitude with the help of Gina than on your opponents skill level. Lines such as "Gina stressed that despite this he still beat me and I needed to give him credit and show good sportsmanship" help your essay stay positive so continue to emphasize how you showed good sportsmanship and how your opponent deserved respect even though you were disappointed in your own performance.
Your paragraph on your one-handed backhand seems somewhat awkward as you focused on patience during the majority of the essay. Expand on the relation of learning/perfecting this skill to patience, the same goes for your success in AP classes. Expand these examples and make sure they are strongly related back to the thesis so that they don't appear like last minute additions.
Hopefully some of my comments were helpful, and feel free to disregard what you disagree with. Good luck on UT admissions!!!
We should not begin with a sentence that is a "run on" sentence:
That was it, I had had enough!
That was it! I had had enough. I was just ...
Another tennis lesson taken, but, no improvement made. ----this sentence is great, even though technically it is not a complete sentence. It is okay because of "poetic license."
Through Gina's advice, I've learned that you
gaining gained a whole new confidence and appreciation for
I have learned
so many lessons from Gina, and I strive ... nice ending!!