For the most part of my life, I have not been a physical learner. I played softball for about 10 minutes when I was in elementary school, up until the point I took a ball to the mouth. I played volleyball a bit in junior high, but nothing super competitive. And I took a tennis course in college, almost a decade ago, and spent most of the class time running laps, because that was our instructor's solution for fixing students when they did things incorrectly, like popping the ball out of the court or switching the hand holding the racket from right to left in a desperate situation.
So along with starting tennis in July of 2008, I also started ballroom dance lessons, since my wonderful husband is also a dance instructor. Both have been a challenge in terms of learning things using my body, instead of just my brain. As a matter of fact, I find that when I'm using my brain less, my body reacts better the way it should.
I have discovered that I have similar issues that affect both activities. In a recent tennis lesson, my husband's ennis coach kept telling me I needed to bend my knees more, something I hear quite often in my dance lessons. Somewhere in life, I learned to stand straight-kneed, and haven't been able to shake that.
The coach also mentioned that my left arm is a bit awkward in terms of how it manages to stay in the way of me finishing my follow-through on my forehand - not so much a problem on my backhand since I'm using both arms to swing. This is another issue I deal with in dancing - the fluidity of my arm motions.
And then, there are also the conflicts. In ballroom dancing, the waltz for example, you have to make large steps to land in the correct position, whereas in tennis, you have to make small steps and adjust accordingly to make contact with the ball at the appropriate time. Plus, in ballroom dancing, bouncing is not an option, whereas in tennis, you sort of hop and bounce a lot when waiting to return a serve or when doing the split step for the volleys.
I find that learning these two physical activities simultaneously can be a bit of a challenge in terms of the differences, but also a benefit because of the similarities. Plus the strengthening of my body from one activity always helps in the next.
So in conclusion, I leave you with a video of my other favorite physical activity - my first ballroom dance performance - a Viennese Waltz - with my husband. Enjoy!