Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

I Survived and what I learned about teaching bridge

I made it through my first tennis game. I was pretty awful but the group was supportive and I did make one terrific forehand that surprised them and me.  I also saw that each of them had their own challenges. This helped me to remember that just like at tennis, at all level of the game of bridge players have challenges.  The type of challenges may be different. But in a way they are not!

No matter whether you are an expert or a novice, you make mistakes, you have triumphs, and when you play in a game with your peers you feel the competition.

But the very first game that is different. You don’t know the rules. You don’t know where to stand or where to move (in tennis); you face unknown rules and conventions (in bridge). You are nervous. But you are determined. You will make it through!

I was very grateful for the support of my friends and I am even more aware of the need to be supportive of newcomers at bridge. It is easy to be impatient – PLAY FASTER, or to be critical or to look for infractions. But in the end, it is much better to be helpful, friendly and patient.

Joe, my tennis pro, asked me how I did. When I explained that I had got some of my serves in, he congratulated me and encouraged me. When I told him I didn’t know where to stand or what I was supposed to do a lot of the time. He simply said, “How could you? Don’t worry about it.” And then instead of the usual lesson he worked on the problems I had in the game.  We worked on how to get to the ball and position to hit it when it came, knowing I had a lot of time because the other players generally didn’t hit the ball hard.

As a bridge teacher I realized it was important to make my students feel comfortable in the games they would participate in. They need to be prepared to play with partners who were at there level. I needed to help them to be more comfortable at the table. I need to ask them what problems they were having and help them with those problems.

As a bridge player I vowed to try to be more patient with new players.

And the best part of my experience. The other woman asked me if I wanted to play every Monday afternoon in a regular game. I feel as if I am starting to belong.



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