Technical Writing and Tennis

As one of your technical writing colleagues I was proud to be representing Israel in the recent Maccabiah games, competing against British, Australian, Canadian, Argentinean and other Israeli players. Barbara Sher after trophy presentation July 15, 2009

I started playing tennis in 1999 as a complete beginner during the hi-tech boom time. Remember that, before the dot bombs! This was when technical writing was the place to be, jobs were abundant and work hours were very long. I had to do something else besides work. I just walked into the tennis center and asked for private lessons.I find that technical writing and tennis give life a nice contrast and actually contribute beneficially to each other.The following is a table that compares the characteristics of technical writing vs. tennis. It shows how they are the opposite of each other and thus compliment each other. I find that more tennis means more energy to do technical writing.

Table 1: Technical Wring / Tennis Comparison

Technical Writing Characteristics

Tennis Characteristics

All brain activity.

Almost no brain, mostly instincts.

No physical activity.

All physical activity and strategy.

Performed in a confined space (even if it is called open space sometimes).

Performed in a real open space.

Subdued environment.

Yelling, moaning and screaming are par for the course.

Need to please customers and employees.

Just please yourself and make your social tennis partners want to come back for another beating.

Narrow and specific guidelines for each task.

Wild Abandon! Just achieve the results.

Success is subjective, based on someone’s opinion.

Success is objective, based on a score.

Get compliments.

Get compliments.



Make money.

No money (not for me anyway

By the way, I won two Bronze medals in the Maccabiah games this year (one in singles and one in doubles) in my age group.

Getting Started in Tennis Here's how I did it. If it worked for me, it can work for you.

To get started in tennis: 1    Go to you local tennis center and start with some private or group lessons for beginners (or at whatever level you are at). 2    Go to lessons 2 or 3 times a week and play with the other players in the group once or twice a week. If you are taking private lessons, then ask the tennis teacher or court manager to match you up with someone on your level. Otherwise, write a notice on the board asking if anyone wants to play. 3    Keep it up because you enjoy it. 4    Have fun!

Barbara Sher