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November 1, 2006
So you're moving up in the world... now what?


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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
So you're moving up in the world... now what?

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

Your doubles or singles game has been improving and you are now moving up to another level of play. As you play your first couple of matches you cannot understand what is happening. The players you are up against could not be that much better, could they? Sure, they get a few more balls back and their placement is a little better, but after that their game really is not much better than yours. The shots you were making on the lower level you no longer can make. It's the same shot, so what gives?

This is a common occurrence with players moving up from one level to another. This scenario usually results in confusion, frustration and downright discouragement. It seems the harder you try the worse your playing becomes. You begin the frantic search for tennis happiness. Off to your coach you go for answers to your seemingly faulty strokes. But are they really faulty? Just two months earlier when you were playing at that lower level and winning, you were a prince!

Suddenly you have gone from a prince to a pauper. This is the mindset that develops when you move to a slightly higher level of play. You were winning before, but now you are losing. Something must be awry - your game must be horribly wrong. Up surge the emotional waves that take over your mental attitude. Emotions out of control have no reasoning power. (This is one of the reasons I produced my new CD - "Controlling Your Emotions in Tennis" - To help players stay out of these emotional whirlpools.)

The truth is, there is nothing wrong with your game. At a higher level more balls are coming back from your opponent and you are having trouble consistently returning them! Returning balls is how you win on any level... the player to get the last ball back wins. This concept seems to befuddle the best of players. The reason why most players come away confused about losing to a slightly better player or team is because they were not completely obliterated by them. Because of the emotional surge, they feel they made too many mistakes and those mistakes were shots they would have routinely made.

When players move up a level, they forget the situation has changed. On the higher level there are two factors at work against all players.

1. The consistent factor
2. The pressure factor


Certain shots that are in your arsenal perform well as long as you only have to produce that shot one or two times in a point. But when you are called upon to produce the same shot three, four or five times your game begins to break down. If a better player is making you hit more tennis balls, you will have to hit the same shots more often. Thus your challenge becomes more intense. The problem begins when you analyze the missed shot that you should not have missed as the reason you lost. The true reason you lost is because there was a higher consistent flow of balls coming back from your opponent. The consistent factor is essential in determining the outcome in different levels of play.


Now comes the pressure factor. First, the pressure of playing a better player will take a toll on your consistency. The better player will make you hit more balls, place the ball a little better, have some court savvy and hangs in there more vigorously. This all adds up to making you concentrate more intensely and more often than when playing on a lower level. If you now let down just a tad bit your game collapses! Second, the winners you were hitting on the lower level are no longer winners. This creates pressure for you to do more with the ball which in turn creates more mistakes. The pressure factor is a major pitfall as you move to higher levels.


There is no quick solution to this perceived problem which is not really a problem at all! You are just experiencing new competition on a higher level. You must relax and keep practicing until you become familiar with the speed, placement, and consistency of the level you are aspiring to play. Keep this in mind! YOU ARE NOT PLAYING WORSE, YOUR OPPONENT IS PLAYING BETTER. And 'better' means slightly better consistency, slightly better ball placement and often a little more speed. Keep up the hard work in practice and your game will slowly break to the next level. In most cases do NOT make any major changes. Be patient, give it time and, above all, remember what you went through to handle this situation. Why? Because every time you move up a level the same scenario will happen again. This situation WILL repeat itself - so keep taking your Ginkgo Biloba memory herb!

Your tennis pro,
Tom Veneziano



"Controlling Your Emotions in Tennis" is another excellent CD from Tom Veneziano. I think of myself as being positive on the court and going for my shots, but this CD conjures up the times when things are going badly, my opponents are "on," and I am missing shots I should make! Little emotions begin creeping in that are hard to shake off. Tom has come up with an amazingly simple technique to rid our mind of this "enemy," our own emotions. Of course we know we shouldn't get emotional about our failures, but it happens! I plan to keep this CD in my car and listen on the way to every match. Thank you, Tom."

Peggy Abshire
Houston, Texas


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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