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September 1, 2004
Do you know when you're improving?


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.


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
Do you know when you're improving?

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

Often players improve but do not even know they are improving! This is a unique phenomenon that I have noted in my 30 years of teaching. The main reason this occurs is because most players use an incorrect model for determining improvement. Their improvement model is built on false assumptions and incorrect standards. Below are five of the erroneous beliefs incorporated in this failed model.

1. They have been learning for months yet they are still making mistakes.

2. The shot is not yet perfect, so there has not been improvement.

3. Because the ball came back they think the shot is STILL not good enough.

4. Many balls are still landing outside the court.

5. They lose every match to the same player.

Did you notice the common denominator between these five false beliefs? Everyone of them 
is rooted in a negative. I'm still making mistakes - shot not correct - the ball came back - the ball landed out - losing to the same player - on and on! The premise for all these false beliefs is that they are not doing well, therefore they are not improving. Of course you could be improving rapidly and still have all these calamities happening. This is the normal learning pattern!

At the core of the problem is the player's mental attitude, perspective and belief system. How you analyze and evaluate things is crucial! Let's look at a typical lesson and the student's perspective with the incorrect model. BECAUSE YOU TAKE YOUR MENTAL ATTITUDE WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO! You must learn to improve your ability to evaluate objectively.

I have been working with Sue on her backhand for one month. She has been hitting balls all over the place with a few sprinkled here and there in the court. Many balls are going 20 to 25 feet out. Sue is frustrated but I encourage her to keep practicing and, to her credit, she forges onward. Three months later Sue is still hitting balls long, but fewer are going 20 to 25 feet out. Many are now going 10 to 15 feet out with a number of balls actually landing in the court.


Sue now has a mental challenge. Is she improving? In most players' minds the answer is "no way!" She is still making mistakes (false belief number one) and balls are still landing out (false belief number four). This is the standard response I hear from my students.

Changing this negative thought pattern is essential. When you go from hitting many balls 20 to 25 feet out to hitting many balls only 10 to 15 feet out YOU HAVE IMPROVED. It's a positive! Not so with the incorrect learning model. Instead you are still failing. It's a negative! The usual cliche comes to mind. Is the glass half empty or half full? You must learn to see the positive when learning and NOT overthink the negative.

Why is this critical? BECAUSE YOU TAKE YOUR MENTAL ATTITUDE WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO. This includes right into a match! Learning to see the positives that occur in a match and not dwell on the negatives is the Tennis Warrior mentality. You must train your mind correctly when you are developing the Warrior mentality for match play. It's crucial!

You must stop evaluating your progress on whether you have improved based on the incorrect model. With that silly model you are never improving! Roger Federer still makes plenty of mistakes. Roger Federer hits balls long. Roger Federer has many great serves returned. I guess Roger Federer is just not improving! Even though he won Wimbledon two years in a row!

So, let's revise the model for improving - from the Tennis Wimp Model to the Tennis Warrior Model! :)

The Tennis Warrior Model

1. I have been learning for months but I'm still making mistakes. I'll forget my mistakes and move on! - the next shot is more important than the last mistake.

2. This shot is not totally correct yet, but I can FEEL the improvement and will keep up the repetition.

3. I expect my good shots to come back. This does NOT mean it's a bad shot. It just means, it came back....the object of the game!

4. I'm still hitting balls out, but so does Federer. Many balls are landing in the court - even if I don't win Wimbledon.

5. I'm losing to the same player, but I'm winning more points, and areas of my game are definitely improving...besides she is my best friend! 

Welcome to the Tennis Warrior World where thinking 'positive' is not just a word... it's a way of life!

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano



"Hello Tom, I listened to your CDs on a long car trip several times. My wife purchased it and enjoyed it (she is the better player of the two of us) , but I learned a lot as well - thank you very much. This stuff can be used in business as well as tennis - good advice."

Jim & Jing Tracey
Smyrna, Georgia


ADDENDUM:  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.
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