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May 1, 2004
Are you challenged or frustrated by your failures?


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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Have you missed a past email lesson? All past email lessons are posted at my website under "Archives" from 1 January 1998 to 1 December 2003 at www.tenniswarrior.com.


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
Are you challenged or frustrated by your failures?

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

There are two types of attitudes when it comes to handling failures during practice or match play. The first attitude is total frustration with the misses and mistakes; the second attitude is total motivation to improve. Which one are you? Do you give up or are you challenged?

What fascinates me is that all players confronted with the same situation react differently. No wonder coaching is tough. As a coach you must know your students and teach them accordingly. You teach the frustrated players differently from the challenged players. That's why true coaching is based on individualism and not placing all players into a cookie cutter mold! A crucial part of coaching is getting to know your student. Is my student frustrated easily by adversity or challenged by adversity?  

To clarify: I'm not referring to isolated moments of frustration; we all become frustrated from time to time. I mean a mental attitude of consistent frustration. Challenged players can bounce back quickly, while frustrated players make a slooooooooow turn around!

Of course, your best choice is always to be challenged by failures. This mind-set  motivates you to focus forward and keep practicing, which in turn decreases your failures. When you become frustrated with your misses you tend to give up or practice with less intensity. This lackadaisical attitude causes even more failures! Interesting isn't it? The very thing you are trying to avoid, you actually cause! Your focus is backward; you overemphasize past failures and become emotional. Emotional reaction accomplishes nothing!

With all of their experience and training, even the pros miss. So what! No one is perfect. How do pros handle these failures? They meet the challenge head-on. That takes practice! Mental practice!

This mental practice, or thought conditioning, involves two steps. First, be aware that you are becoming frustrated. And two, practice CHANGING that thinking the moment it occurs on court (focusing forward). Remember, the next shot is more important than the last mistake.


The key to solving frustration is immediately recognizing the frustration in practice or in your match play. Do not rationalize or deny your frustration. And do NOT think you are a victim. I call it the victim mentality: After all of my practice...I'm still missing! Being aware that you are steeped in frustration and you are thinking negatively is the first step. The second step is to refocus and move on!


Right on the spot have a talk with yourself, pull out of the nose dive and soar to the sky to meet the challenge. Practice thinking the opposite of what you normally would think. Obviously this is easier to execute in practice sessions, but with persistence you will slowly apply this new thinking in your match play. As a coach I stop my players when frustration wells up too many times in a practice session. I challenge them to not judge or criticize their shots, but direct their thoughts toward what's important... practice! I encourage them to just keep swinging, forget the failures and go for their shots. Eventually the players work themselves out of this destructive thought pattern. But they must stay sharp to catch themselves from slipping back because frustration is the kiss of death in the competitive arena.

One thought can make you or break you! Failures can make you weak or strong. Practice correct thinking when frustration appears on the horizon. Turn those frustrations into the pot of gold of the challenge!

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano



Hello Tom,
"Got a chance this past weekend to listen to your CD's and read your book "The Truth About Winning." Excellent information, I will definitely be applying these principles in my matches from now on. You really make a lot of sense. I really enjoyed the techniques for increasing speed on court and am looking forward to trying them out. Even though I am a good player and very fast, I do tend to stand around admiring my shots from time to time! I'll be looking to eradicate that this week. Congratulations on a great teaching system. I would have no hesitation recommending it to anybody who plays tennis. I believe players of every standard can benefit greatly from it. Tennis coaching in general needs a lot more guys like yourself!"

All the Best,
Steve O'Leary
Dublin, Ireland


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 you and your children to a better understanding of the developmental process.
Click here for more information about my books and tapes

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