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June 1, 1999
Priority sequence thinking

Hi, everyone....do you know where your backhand is?  Ha!  Only kidding! Oddly enough when you start out your forehand is better and more comfortable to hit than your backhand, but when you reach a higher level it reverses! Your arm does not come across the body like the forehand does so when you build up the muscles and improve your timing on your backhand it feels a lot more comfortable to hit!

Below is this month's lesson. It's about "priority sequence thinking!"  You probably have never heard of it, but you should be starting to use it if you're a B player or higher.  I could not explain it all in this short lesson, but you can get the gist of what it's all about.  I will show you a very simple situation where you can apply "priority sequence thinking."  Good luck!

Food for thought!  -  We know that we all have weaknesses and strengths, and if we practice our weaknesses we'll improve!  Isn't it ironic that most people choose to practice their strengths!

Oh, by the way, I want to thank you again, we hit 50 tennis enthusiasts for the email tennis lesson, our first goal!.......next goal 100!!!  Let me know at tom@tenniwarrior.com for any more tennis buffs that would be interested in my free email tennis lessons.   I appreciate everyone passing the word around.

Tom's Online Tennis Lesson

Welcome to the tennis lesson hotline, sponsored by Tom's Tennis Tapes, "educating players one mind at a time".  I'm Tom Veneziano.  This lesson lasts approximately 2 minutes and changes on the first of every month. 

In doubles I teach my students to come to the net as quickly as possible.  Once they’ve come up, utilizing the correct thinking is extremely important when playing offensive tennis.  Although there are five offensive skills you should master (approach shots, volleys, overheads, positioning, and priority sequence thinking), the most important for the correct thinking is priority sequence thinking.  The ability to think in a sequence and prioritize that sequence!  Have I lost anyone yet?  Hang in there, it will all make sense soon. To keep it simple let’s take just two shots, a lob and a volley coming right at you. When you’re up at the net you should be thinking what type of shot your opponent be hitting at you.  The question is, should you be thinking volley or lob?  The answer is, both, but in a priority sequence.

Here’s the way this works.  First, you need to know that the first shot you are thinking in your mind is the one you will react to the fastest!  If you’re thinking your opponent may hit a lob you’ll react fast to the lob, but not quite as fast to a volley coming straight at you.  This does not mean you will not hit the volley, it just means you will not react as fast to the volley as you would have if you would have been thinking of it first.  Make sense so far?  

Now, the characteristic of the shot determines the correct priority sequence you set up.  Since the lob will take the longest to reach its destination, it only makes sense to place this second in your mind, because the shot in second place will be the slowest to react to (remember the shot that you think of first will be the fastest you react to).  When up at the net the volley should be first in your mind because it will come at you the fastest!  If for some reason your opponent hits a lob and you are thinking volley you’ll still have time to react because the lob will be slower.  You have correctly set up your priority sequence thinking when at the net in doubles.  The correct sequence is to think volley first and lob second. Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Well, you would be surprised how many players think lob first and volleys second, that’s why they are always volleying going backward on their heels!  Do you? If you do, my suggestion to you is the next time you're up at the net start thinking volley first and you'll be surprised how fast you react to the ball!   

The Pros think like this all the time and you probably do too!   The problem is you more than likely have unknowingly set up the wrong priorities!   So, the next time you find yourself at the net, practice the correct priority thinking, and yes, you too can think like a Pro!!!  

Your personal email tennis coach,


© 1999 Tom Veneziano, 10855 Meadowglen #1022, Houston, TX 77042

What others are saying about my tapes!

"Tom deals with the thinking end of tennis like no one else. It's almost too difficult to explain, you have to experience it. He has an uncanny knack for getting right to the heart of the matter. You come away thinking, that's right: it makes sense!"

Colleen Cremer, Houston, TX.

"It's interesting to note that everyone can use these tapes from beginner to championship level. You can apply the information to whatever level you play on."

Dan Hanusa, Houston, TX.

" Tom's audio cassettes have changed my thinking, aligning it with the correct information needed to improve my game. He's right there with you, inside your head, challenging you to make those changes. It's like having your own personal coach! I highly recommend his tapes for everyone."

Linda Zimmerman, Houston, TX.

"On the way to my HLTA match I listened to Tom's tape, "Some Before Match Pointers." Call it a coincidence, but I won my first HLTA match ever! I just seemed to be in a better frame of mind. Thanks, Tom."

Mary Ogden, Houston, TX.

"Tom and I have been friends for over twenty years. It's not surprising to me players talk so positively about his tapes. He's always possessed exceptional athletic ability along with an unusual analytical mind. Tom simply likes to think! At times he would drive me crazy, but he was the driving force behind my journey into tennis. I'm 6'1" and Tom is 5'6" but I could never beat the little imp! All joking aside, if Tom's thinking is on audio cassettes, you should listen! You'll never view tennis the same way again!"

Sam Lacava,Tennis Professional, Stewartsville, N.J.

Thank you all for the testimonials! I appreciate it!


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