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Great match between Andre Agassi and Marcos Baghdatis! Two Tennis Warriors going at it for hours. Agassi still maintained his unbeaten record when up two sets to love at the open. I think it is now 57 and 0. Not bad! After that long tough match with Baghdatis will Andre be able to play on Saturday? We'll soon find out.
STROKES ARE BASED ON 'FEEL' NOT MECHANICS!
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
The Federer Fed Express Plan
Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
Whether playing singles or doubles most players have just one game plan. We'll call it their A game. When their A game strategy does not work they have no B game or C game to fall back on. Yet here is where the Roger "Fed Express" Federer really shines. Sometimes I think he has a whole alphabet soup of games! Roger has a brilliant strategic mind for tennis and seems to blend perfectly the simple with the dynamic to make an unbeatable combination. Add to that his exceptional talent, athletic prowess and shot-making ability and he will be a formidable foe for many years to come.
Let's take a look at Roger's A, B and C games that he has executed flawlessly so many times. His plans are simple and can be applied to any level of play. The tricky part is for you to learn when to do what. I can give you some guidelines, but like Federer you will have to 'feel' the moment yourself. Yes, we are back to feel again! Not only do you have to learn to feel your tennis strokes but you also must learn to feel the moment to make a change in tactics or strategy. Feel is an integral part of all aspects of tennis. Even a coach must have a feel of when to do what with a particular student.
THE A GAME OF FED EXPRESS
Federer begins his matches by playing his normal, consistent game while waiting for the right opportunity to unleash his big forehand or attack the net with a lightning quick approach shot...This is his A Game. This is a good A game for anyone. Playing consistent and waiting for the right ball to go for the winner is a strategically sound game with which to open. If everything goes well Roger begins turning up the heat with added speed, depth, wider angles to open up the court or a few more journeys to the net...he's feeling it! At this point not many players can stop him.
Now what happens when he is not making his big forehand or lightning quick approach shots with any consistency? And, to add to his problems, his opponent is playing superbly. What do you do when you are not making your key shots and your opponent is playing well? Do you keep blasting your shots in hopes that they may begin to drop in? Or do you forlornly accept the fact that you are not playing well on that day? How about trying something different?
THE B GAME OF FED EXPRESS
When Roger is having trouble and can not find his timing or rhythm he performs an on-court tune-up by moving into his B game. In his B game he is just keeping the ball in play, moving it around and not taking many chances. If he has a glaring opportunity to go for a winner he takes it, but he is not pressing the play. With this plan he has two positive principles at work for him. Number one, he has an opportunity to reestablish his good timing and rhythm. And number two, he is making his opponent hit many more balls which could result in unforced errors. While Roger is regaining his feel he is still making his opponent concentrate and play consistent tennis. The genius of it all! While Roger is not playing his best tennis he is still making his opponent fight for every point! There is absolutely no reason you cannot do the same. A little patience at the right time could win you the whole match! Your B game is your conservative, consistent game waiting to reestablish your feel.
THE C GAME OF FED EXPRESS
Ah yes, more simple genius from the Fed Express! Most players think in terms of their game being static. Nothing in life stays the same. You are either moving forward or backward. Whether you are playing well or poorly the way you are playing right now is the way you think you will continue to play. Most players do not think of their best game as something they have to work toward. They think it just exists! As a result if they lose it...it's gone and they are confused. Roger Federer does NOT think that way and neither should you. Enter Roger's C game. His C game is to now go back to his A game! Only this time it's a higher octane version of it. He has reestablished his timing, rhythm and feel and now his shots are flowing. The approach shots he was missing at first are now five times more consistent and penetrating. His major forehand weapon that could not find its mark earlier is now hitting the bull's-eye just about every time. With every shot his demeanor improves and his confidence grows. Roger is back with a vengeance!
You, too, must learn to have different games to access as the going gets tough. If you are playing poorly, do not think you are stuck with that game for the rest of your match. Roger's plan is simple and it works when playing against the best in the world. Do not panic when your A game falls apart. Move on to your B game and position yourself for your C game (which is really your A game with a timing and rhythm supercharger!). Roger Federer is not only the Fed Express, but a Tennis Warrior.
Your tennis pro,
I have been subscribed to Tennis Warrior for almost four years. First, I want to congratulate you and applaud your valuable contributions. I hold an education doctorate and have taught in higher education for many years. I am also a USPTA certified pro. I find your teaching to be sound and principle-centered. You tell it like it is, Tom. No magic -- just hard work but worth the journey.
I should also add that I have really enjoyed listening to your audio CDs again and again, especially in my car when I'm on my way to practice tennis or when driving on the Interstate and distractions are few. You have a way of delivery that is straightforward and sticks in my head. Tom, I see value in a systems approach to learning tennis. I see your Tennis Warrior system as the key element that promotes optimal learning because it fosters not only a feel for strokes but a feel for personal empowerment. I never felt truly engaged with my game until I started incorporating your teaching philosophy into my practice. After two seasons of repetition, repetition, repetition, I'm pleased that my game is moving to a higher level than I ever thought possible.
Thanks for all of your hard work to make the Tennis Warrior experience so meaningful, both on and off the court.
Jim Falvo, Ed.D., USPTA
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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