Game, Set & Match

As I sat on Centre Court last week (I’m a veteran camper of Wimbledon over many years) I was thinking about the similarities between tennis and the NHS (displayed in green brackets naturally) and being the best you can be…..

1. Tennis is a sport based on unpredictability (quite a bit of this in healthcare)

2. The game can be enjoyed at many skill levels and a system of handicapping (CQC) has been devised in order to make games (NHS Services) competitive between players (NHS Providers) of different ability;

3. You must be prepared to adapt to many situations - shot selection, strategy, match duration, weather, the opponent, complex physiological aspects, type of surface and facility, fatigue and human nature (such challenges for most of us are a pre-requisite to working in healthcare )

4. The ball spin is a little bit like commissioning; - The ball can be given spin either by the player ( NHS provider / commissioner) reading the spin is an important part of the game; initially one is totally bewildered by the spin but soon one begins to judge where the ball will move after contact (agreement reached between the two) Although be warned contact with the wall and the action of this spin can be even deadlier!!!

5. Trainers work with the players to continuously set goals and therefore jointly establish performance criteria within the defining broad and simple rules of tennis; Individuals should reach their goals in different ways. Service is from one side of the court and there are about a dozen different types of serve and each has a few variations. (Could performance management systems in the NHS do more to define broader and simple rules for performance?)

6. Designing and implementing training for tennis requires a solid understanding of the many physiological variables critical to optimal performance. (Education, Training & Development key to NHS performance)

7. Age is no barrier………well, that is to just play the game, professional competitive tennis on the other hand is another matter. (NHS clearly has an upper hand on equality issues)

8. Professional tennis requires attention to detail with focus, intent, and purpose to stay at your best. You need to keep reminding yourself that your opponent never sleeps. Perhaps we should all consider this to be at our best

9. It seems to me that the qualities of agility and change-of-direction work in tennis are key qualities for the NHS too!

What do you do to stay at your best?

This issue brings you a round-up from our UK Conference in Manchester last month with articles fr

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