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.
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All past email lessons are posted at my website from 1 January 1998 to 1 August 2002. www.tenniswarrior.com
FOOD FOR THOUGHT and MENTAL MEANDERINGS
1. Because you can mechanically do a stroke perfectly does not mean you have the stroke! Strokes are based on feel not mechanics.
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
Taking control of your tennis
Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
This lesson could be a little tough on you so you better sit down. First, stop being a tennis wimp! Not a great way to begin a lesson is it? Let me explain. This is a way of thinking, a subtle mindset that most players do not even know exists. Too many players allow other people or circumstances to incorrectly affect their attitude, their game and even how they learn to play tennis. Certainly a teacher and some advice from others can help, but most players relinquish too much control to overt and external situations and people. They are dependent on a coach, player, some technical information, certain conditions, etc to play well, to feel confident and to develop their game.
When teaching I have seen many subtle versions of this mindset over the years. I call it the tennis victim mentality! For example, I may say to a student, "relax and hit the ball slow when volleying at the net." Their response, "but my opponent is hitting the ball hard and fast." In other words, what their thinking is, "it's not my fault, they're hitting it to fast! Tell them to slow down so I can hit it easier." Can you imagine a pro saying that to his opponent! I can hear Pete Sampras now telling Lleyton Hewitt, "Hey Lleyton could you please slow down your shots so I can hit a well placed touch drop shot and win. If you are going to hit that hard I'm going to take my tennis balls and go home."
No, instead Pete adjusts the best he can for the situation. HE TAKES CONTROL OF HIS TENNIS. Because a player hits the ball hard does not mean you have to clobber the ball back at them! You learn to control your racket face and speed. When I teach players to relax at the net, to slow down and to use their opponents speed, they seem to snap out of it and take back control of their game.
One of your greatest mental skills for all avenues of tennis is to learn to be self-reliant. The dictionary defines self-reliant as ‘having the confidence in and exercising one's own powers or judgement.' It's up to YOU!
YOU must take control of your tennis development -certainly you can seek help from a good pro, a tennis camp, or an academy but YOU are
responsible for YOUR improvement - not the pro, not the camp, not the academy.
YOU must take control of your practice sessions - Practice...really practice! Besides doing specific drills, when you play a fun match practice new concepts that you have learned. Stop worrying about winning and what your team or teammates will think of you in practice matches ...try something different ...practice!
YOU must take control of your mental attitude in matches - All tennis matches come complete with many failures, adversities, ups and downs, and surprises. Stop blaming everyone and everything else ...adjust mentally and move on.
YOU must take control of your point play in matches - Players can hit the ball slow, medium, or fast, they can lob it, drive it, or spin it and they can hit the ball in the air or on a bounce. You must learn to stay alert and adjust to these different changing conditions and stop thinking there is nothing you can do on your part.
In other words you learn to think from the inside out. Sound familiar? It should, in the July 1st lesson we discussed learning strokes from the inside out (I have a link to that article at the end of this lesson). Instead of discussing the strokes, in this lesson we are discussing your overall mental attitude and how you should also take inner control through your mind.
* As a side note this is one of the reasons I have changed my teaching methods. When you learn strokes from the inside out you simultaneously train your thinking properly. You will automatically begin developing mental skills that will affect your thinking from the inside out. Like a champion YOU learn to take control. With the Tennis Warrior System YOU learn mental toughness and the physical strokes simultaneously. It's built right into the system!
Let me illustrate the dynamics of learning to think from the inside out and learning to take control of your tennis.
You are in a match and your opponent hits you a short ball. You correctly hit an approach shot and come up to the net. Your opponent nails a beautiful passing shot and wins the point. Now what? Below are two opposing mindsets that could occur. The ‘victim mentality' vs the ‘champions mentality.'
VICTIM MENTALITY (Relinquishing too much control to the external) - "I hit an approach shot and came up to the net like I was suppose to, but I lost the point anyway. A lot of good coming to the net did for me. Now what do I do?"
CHAMPIONS MENTALITY (taking control from the inside) - "My opponent hit a good passing shot, but my approach shot was short. The next time let's see if I can deepen it up and create a little more pressure."
If the approach shot was deep and he still lost the point the champion would think, "maybe I'll add a little more speed to the deep approach shot to create pressure." If his opponent still passes him he would think, "let's see if my opponent can keep it up over the long haul. I'm going to keep the pressure on consistently with deep approach shots."
NOTE - The mentally tough competitor takes mental control and always thinks there is a way to solve the problem. As a result of this inside out thinking he keeps trying different options and solutions rather then concluding that the situation is out of his hands.
The bottom line is STOP relinquishing too much control to overt situations, conditions and people. Take control of your tennis by leaning to think differently. When you notice yourself thinking incorrectly and being controlled by an external situation, STOP and THINK AGAIN. Only this time think from the inside out and take control of your tennis. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT ...BREAK THE MOLD!
Your tennis pro,
APPENDUM: I teach a total system of thinking in regard to stroke production and mental attitude which I cannot explain in one email. Although each lesson can stand alone 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 help you not only learn tennis at a faster rate, and develop mental toughness, but also give you the knowledge necessary to help guide your and your children to a better understanding of the developmental process.
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Thank you. Thank you. I enjoy reading your tips and I am applying them as I climb the ladder! Remember, the next shot is more important than the last mistake! This has helped me tremendously in the last 4 months of my tennis. I wish you were based in California ...I would certainly look you up for a few lessons. I especially liked the part about "suiting the players personality" .....you are helping me find my "footing"on the tennis court.
Emily Garcia, Murphys, CA