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November 1, 2001
What determines the direction of your ball?

RAMBLINGS!

Welcome to all the new subscribers to my email tennis lessons.  You will receive one long lesson on the first of every month and some quick tips in between.

Send your tennis buddies or whole team to www.tenniswarrior.com to sign up for their free email tennis lessons.

All past email lessons are posted at my website from 1 January 1998 to 1 November 2001. www.tenniswarrior.com

FOOD FOR THOUGHT and MENTAL MEANDERINGS
 
1. Excellent quote below - double your rate of failure to improve your tennis game!

"Would you like me to give you a formula for...success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure... You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all...You can be discouraged by failure - or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success. On the far side of failure." - Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

2. There are many ‘perfect' tennis players with ‘perfect' technical strokes out there, but I can tell you one thing, they are not in the top ten professionals of the world because the top ten are swinging, jumping, diving, and flailing at the ball with controlled abandonment!

3. Remember the basic principles for learning tennis with my system is to develop a ‘feel' for different strokes along with developing mental skills through REPETITION.  Repetition of simple procedures create that ‘feel' NOT an over emphasis on the technical skills and mechanics.  Click here for an article that I wrote on 'feel' vs 'mechanics' in April 2001

Tom's Online Tennis Lesson
 What determines the direction of your ball?

Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"

A week ago I was talking to my sister about her husband who is having some tenderness in the area of his kidneys.  The doctors have done some test, and nothing was wrong.  I suggested an increase in water.  He was only drinking 2 - 3 glasses of water a day.  Not good!  After a week he seemed to be noticeably better.  My sister said, "wouldn't that be unbelievable if something as SIMPLE as water could solve the problem."  To increase water to solve this type of problem was not even an option, because it was too SIMPLE...how can it be?   Yet, the dynamics of drinking water is so powerful it can solve a host of different health problems. 

Here is a SIMPLE principle of tennis you probably will not believe either.  Yet, what it can do to your game is extremely powerful and can also solve a host of different tennis problems.  Like the water analogy, it's just too SIMPLE...how can it be? 

The principle is, whichever way you point the racket face is the way the ball will go.  Too SIMPLE for you?  Tennis pros are going to be angry with me for this next phrase.  Even if you do everything technically wrong, but have the racket face correct the ball will go toward your desired target.  Now, I am not telling you to go out and play sloppy tennis.  I am trying to teach you a principle.  The racket face determines the direction of the ball, not technique.  Technique can help you acquire more power. Technique can help you hit topspin or slice.  But control of the racket face determines where the ball goes. And practice, trial and error, and repetition determine your ‘feel' of the racket face.

  • If you would like to hit the ball down the middle of the court you place the racket face on  the back of the ball.

  • If you would like the ball to go cross court you place the racket face on the outside of the ball.

  • If you would like to hit an inside out forehand or backhand you place the racket face on the inside of the ball.

  • If you would like the ball to go up in the air (a lob) you place the racket face on the bottom of the ball.

  • If you would like to hit the ball down toward the ground (a lousy shot) you place the racket face on the top of the ball.

  • If you would like the ball to go backward toward the fence just miss the ball entirely. :)

WHICHEVER WAY YOU POINT THE RACKET FACE IS THE DIRECTION THE BALL WILL GO.

Do you know how I teach players to understand their racket face?  I suggest taking it to dinner, a movie, or perhaps a good nightcap. :)  But, the next day I make them hit hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tennis balls...really!  Last week I had a lesson with one of my students.  Her name is Judy.  Sonny, the fellow who feeds balls to my students for me, counted how many balls she hit.  We were working on backhands.  Judy is a strong "A" player, but had a weak one handed backhand.  I gave her some SIMPLE procedures and we're off.  Sonny stands up at the net and feeds her ball after ball after ball.  The total came to 550 backhand hits.  Would any of you like to take a lesson with me? :)  I have done this with Judy week after week as she is developing her backhand.  Is her backhand improving?  You bet it is!...this phenomenon is called practice!   One of the simple procedures is to encourage her to experiment with the racket face, hitting cross court, down the line, in the net, out of bounds.  I don't care where the ball goes as long as she is experimenting and learning a feel for the racket face.  Because it's her understanding of the racket face that will ultimately determine the control she will have over the ball.  The same is true for every player including yourself. 

  • The next time you're playing and you hit a ball in the net, you simply placed the racket face toward the top of the ball too much - the next time hit the bottom of the ball more.

  • If the ball goes long you hit the bottom of the ball too much - the next time place the racket face toward the top of the ball more.

  • If you're trying to hit the ball down the line and it goes cross court - the next time place the racket face toward the back of the ball more.

  • If you're trying to hit the ball cross court and it goes down the line - the next time place the racket face toward the outside of the ball more.

  • And so on and so on.

Note where your ball goes and the next time attempt to change the racket face to compensate.  It's SIMPLE!  Your ball may still not go exactly where you want, but you're learning a feel for the racket face.  And like most players, you won't have to over think all of your misses.  I know you think you missed because you didn't do all this intricate technical jargon correctly, but this is not true.  Again, technique may help you with extra power, topspin or slice but it's the racket face that will determine the direction of the ball.

Still don't believe me?  How about this?  Have you ever seen a pro hit a ball from behind his back for a perfect shot in the court? 

  • Why did he not bend his knees?

  • Why did he not prepare his racket early?

  • Why did he not move his weight into the ball?

  • Why did he not stay still and balanced?

  • Why did he not have his racket head above his wrist?

  • Why did his ball land in the court?

Answer.  Racket face.  Case closed!!!   

Your email tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano

***************************************************
                           
APPENDIX: What I teach is a total system of thinking in regard to stroke production and mental attitude. I cannot explain in one email the whole system.  Although each lesson can stand on it's own you will derive tremendous physical and mental benefit by understanding the total philosophy.  These emails, my web site, books, and tapes are part of a course in tennis, not just isolated tennis tips.  They all fit together into a system.  A system that once understood can not only help you learn tennis at a faster rate, and develop mental toughness, but give you the knowledge necessary to help guide yourself and your children to a better understand of the developmental process.

Click here for more information about my books and tapes

Copyright © 2001 Tom Veneziano. All rights reserved

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