15 Sep What Do Tennis Lessons Have To Do With Being A Good Driver?
If you’re reading this, I’ve obviously piqued your curiosity, and I promise to explain the connection in just a moment, but I need to start with a little story…
It always amazes me how difficult it is to learn something new. For example, I just started learning how to play tennis. Now get this, I’m 43 years old, and I have NEVER picked up a tennis racket in my life! But I decided that I was going to learn how to do it – finally. You see, I got tired of listening to Will (who works with me at Drive Safer) tell me about what an amazing tennis player he is. In fairness, he doesn’t exactly say it like that. In fact, he just tells me the stories of how he beats almost everyone that he plays!
I’ve been hearing about this from Will for several years now, and every time, I tell myself that I’m going to learn how to play tennis. Well, I finally bit the bullet, went to the tennis place (there’s one right around the corner from our office) and I bought a 6-pack of 1 hour lessons…that’s right – 6 hours of tennis training…(I know – what a coincidence! But it’s true!)
The next thing I did, was to go out and buy myself a racquet. If you’ve ever been to a sporting goods place, and walked into the area where they have tennis stuff, then you know what overwhelm feels like. I had no clue about what I should be looking for and I was about to give up, when I found a racquet that was on sale, it looked pretty cool (it was white with blue trim on it), and I was going to be able to get out of the store! So for a mere $69.00 and a little bit of stress, I was on the road to being a tennis star!
A few days later, it was time for my inaugural tennis lesson. I was actually scared! I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. You know what I mean? It wasn’t some life or death situation, but it was new.
My instructor’s name was Eric. He was about 24 years old. To tell the truth, it frustrated me a little bit – that some 24 year old knew more about this than me, but after talking to him for a bit, I learned that he had been playing tennis since he was 5 years old, and on average, played for about 15-20 hours each week for as long as he could remember. I did the math…
15 hours/week x 52 weeks/year x 19 years =
Now that’s a lot of hours! In fact, experts have shown time and time again, that it takes around 10,000 hours to become an expert at something – so this kid, was almost a double expert!
The first lesson started off with him showing me how to hold the racquet. If you play tennis, then you know that this is pretty important. It only took me about 2 minutes to get that right, and I was feeling pretty good. In fact, I said “No problem Eric, I got this!”
To which Eric replied, “You’re a natural Jason. Now let’s work on swinging the racquet.”
I was thinking, OK…this is gonna be a piece of cake…but…much to my dismay, it was NOT a piece of cake. We spent the rest of the entire hour just trying to get me to swing the racquet properly, look the right way, have my feet in the right place, etc. I was sweating like a pig, and I could hardly stand up…It was EXHAUSTING!
I won’t bore you with the details of my next five hours of training with Eric, but I will share one thing with you. I needed many more lessons!
Actually, I have taken more lessons – many more lessons. In fact, I have taken around 30 more hours of lessons (not all from Eric – even though he’s a great teacher), and if you asked me today, “Jason, are you a good tennis player?” my honest response would have to be, “No way. I am far from a good player, but I am learning… I’ve got a long way to go!”
OK, I promised you, I would get back to this…
So…What the heck does Tennis have to do with driving? I’m glad you asked…
LEARNING TO PLAY TENNIS
TO DO WITH DRIVING!
Let me explain.
Think about when you were learning to drive – the first time you got into the car as a virgin driver (if you can remember that long ago). Do you remember how many things there were to think about…it takes a lot of time to get comfortable, and to learn what to do. In fact, it takes a lot more time and experience than most people in the US actually devote to driver training.
Imagine that same first time playing Tennis, it’s your first day, and they just threw you into a match – against someone else (who knew how to play). What if it was worse – a doubles match!
You’d get slaughtered!
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much how we teach people to drive – we send them out into traffic, without the necessary fundamentals, and expect that they’ll do great!
So today, when I ask most parents, who have a teen that just recently started driving, “is your son/daughter a good driver?” I USUALLY get the same response. Even when they’ve only spent about 6 hours behind the wheel with a driving school, or maybe they’ve even spent another 20 or 30 hours practicing with Mom and Dad.
So, what do they tell me? “Yes, they’re doing great!”
I then, of course, take it upon myself, as some sort of guardian angel, to explain to them that that it’s very unlikely true. In fact, it’s that false belief that leads to some of the most distasteful statistics around.
MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES
ARE THE # 1 KILLER OF TEENS
IN THE US
Did you know that? Probably not. Most parents don’t know it. But sadly, it’s true.
In fact, car crash fatalities kill more teens than drugs, homicides and suicides combined! But honestly, even if car crashes was number 2 or number 3 on the list of most deadly – it would still be completely unacceptable…the only acceptable answer is to have ZERO teen crashes and fatalities – especially due to driver training – as we can control this.
Parents, if you’re like me, you’d do anything to protect your children and your family, and you probably always have. Most teen crashes are single car crashes when their car goes out of control – largely due to inexperience. You don’t need to let this happen to your family. But you do have to take it seriously and
Don’t let this happen to your family and friends. Don’t let this happen in your community.
What if I told you that there is a solution? What if I told you that you could do more to make your family, friends and community much safer, and reduce the chances of the unthinkable tragedy?
No one wants a police officer showing up at their door, to tell them that one of their loved ones will not be coming home. No one.
But as I said, there is a solution. The solution is:
LOTS OF DELIBERATE, SUPERVISED
PRACTICE – OF THE RIGHT THINGS
You see, it isn’t about just logging more hours in the car, although that does help. You need to ensure that your teen is prepared to handle all the things they will likely encounter when they are behind the wheel. If you live in the northeast, then you realize that there are also many seasonal changes that affect driving too! Your teen needs to gain experience in all of these conditions.
I was blown away at how poorly driver education and training was being handled in our country, and that’s why I created Drive Safer. You see, the experience that your teen needs – how to stop short when necessary, how to avoid getting into a skid, and if they do end up in a skid – how to get out of it. How to swerve when a deer suddenly trots in front of them, when they are driving 40 MPH down the road, etc. The first time they encounter these things – MUST NOT BE WHEN THEY ARE ON THEIR OWN!
We have a better solution to this epidemic (Yes – 8 teens being killed each and every day is an epidemic). It is called the Drive Safer Basic Car Control and Defensive Driving Course.
This program will put your teen behind the wheel of the car they most often drive, with an instructor who has been highly-trained and has hundreds, if not thousands of hours of experience driving in high-performance conditions and situations. They’ll go through a series of core fundamentals that will increase their understanding and provide them with experience in:
- Essential fundamental car control skills
- Focal and peripheral vision
- Panic braking
- Braking in a turn
- Safe following distances and appropriate stopping distances
- Hazard avoidance
- Motion and weight transfer
- Basic skid control and recovery
As a student, they’ll leave with a level of respect for their vehicle, and the knowledge of their own skills and abilities. They’ll have a sense of confidence and the proper defensive driving attitude to help them handle the various situations they will inevitably encounter. And, they’ll leave with a smile on their face, because this process was designed not only with safety in mind, but also by baking in a whole lot of fun.
Parents, if you want that peace of mind, knowing that you’ve done your job, and have provided quality training to your teen, and you want to pick up some great pointers on how to help your teen become a safe responsible driver, then sign up for one of our upcoming courses, while there is still room!
Don’t put off this important training…6 hours could potentially be the most important investment you will ever make.