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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
From extraordinary to ordinary
Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
For a long time you have been practicing with the Tennis Warrior System: mental control and hitting lots of balls as your top priorities. Then one day you're practicing on the courts and bingo! Suddenly you are playing a new level of tennis. Your 'feel' is different than expected, your control has improved and every hit seems effortless. You've arrived in tennis heaven! You can't wait for tomorrow to show everyone how marvelously well you are playing.
Off you go the next day to be a star on the courts. As you begin warming up you discover your play is not the same spectacular accomplishment as yesterday. Completely confused, you think, "What has happened, where did my new play disappear to? Maybe after I warm up my splendid form will come back." To your amazement your effortless playing never returns! Your play is not bad, but it is not the same spontaneous wonder of yesterday. Discouraged and despondent you would like to give up this silly game. After all those balls you hit, you finally had a breakthrough, yet one day later the glorious epiphany has vanished!
This disillusionment occurs over and over again when learning the game of tennis or any sport. You work diligently to create an incredible breakthrough with a forehand, a backhand or the entire game and then everything evaporates. Is this a normal predicament? You will be happy to discover that yes, this is normal. Remember, there are high and low cycles in every situation - in your match play, your mental attitude, your forehand, your backhand and your serve. This is the process of learning. When players are learning the game there are both mountains and valleys on the path to success. While having a sublime tennis day followed by a not-quite-so-sublime day can be frustrating, this is exactly what should happen. But why? The key is to understand what is occurring and to learn to relax and keep up those excellent practice habits.
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
An example of this confusing learning cycle can be found in the process of learning to ride a two-wheeler bicycle. When I was learning I remember getting on the bicycle, riding about two feet and having to put my foot down to gain my balance. I did this for many days, sometimes maintaining my balance for two or three feet and then maybe for ten or fifteen feet. One day, out of nowhere, I stayed on the bicycle in perfect balance for fifty feet! I felt terrific. I had arrived! I was Lance Armstrong! Or was I? The next time I tried to ride I was back to ten and fifteen feet again. I did, however, have fewer days with unbalanced moments. Not only was I learning to ride, I was improving! Soon I had more days with fifty feet of balanced riding, and eventually rode with confidence. The principle is the same when learning to play tennis. That one exceptional day is just part of the learning process. You are privy to a glimpse of your future game if you continue your practice regimen.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that when this exceptional day followed by a not-so-exceptional day occurs, there are three bright and shining positives at work for you.
1. You are about to get it.
Although you have not yet mastered this new level of play, you are closing in on making the new relaxed forehand, backhand, or entire game part of your arsenal. Stay with your practice regimen and give this new game a chance to take hold. Like when learning to ride a bicycle, be patient and do not over-think the results, just keep practicing.
2. Your core forehand, backhand or game has just improved.
When learning to ride a bicycle, after the fifty-foot ride you then begin to improve on your base distance with not many unbalanced rides anymore. The same is true for your tennis game. After your exceptional breakthrough, whatever part of your game that had the breakthrough will maintain a higher level of core consistency....You're improving! Improvement in your core consistency is a huge breakthrough in itself!
3. You have achieved the potential.
The really good news is that you have the ability and have demonstrated the potential to play at that higher level! There is only one obstacle that can stop you now. That obstacle is YOU. Discouragement, depression, despondency, and despair will distract your mental toughness and derail your game. Stay positive, be patient and that sublime play WILL return and become part of your tennis arsenal.
So you see, having that exceptional day followed by a not-so-exceptional day is not only beneficial but a sign of improvement! So have a good day!
Your Tennis Pro,
I just wanted to update you on my trip to Spain. This was the first tournament I've played for over 2 years. I didn't want to step into a competitive situation until I'd started to get my head straight. My match play and practice play were like there were two different people on court. So I was a bit apprehensive - especially as I'm a new tennis warrior.
So here's the good news: I now have a world ranking for my age group (veterans over 55). It's only a humble 261 but it reflects a major attitude change thanks to your tapes and books. I went on court to play a French woman, slipped to love-2 down and then remembered: forget about the outcome, but go for each point, have the courage to make mistakes and above all, lighten up and enjoy. I won the match 6-2, 6-0! At one point I was almost in tears with gratitude! Her side of the court seemed huge - so many opportunities for me to place the ball. My side seemed so small and easy to cover. So thank you. It was magical and effortless. Suddenly it was all so simple and easy to win the points. And this all happened the moment I stopped caring about actually whether or not I won them.
The less than good news was in the next round I started thinking, hey, I'm a contender, I can do this. Immediately I found myself playing tentatively. I don't want to be too hard on myself because the conditions were dreadful - it was really windy and the sun was in and out of the clouds like a yo yo. Oh, and I had a terrible fall in the final set where I think I've fractured a rib or two and have done something awful to my wrist. But the point was, I couldn't retrieve that magic of the match before. I'd written myself some key pointers from your book to look at during change-overs and they helped - heaven knows, it could have been a lot worse. I hung in there - finally losing 7-5 in the tie-break of the 3rd set. It doesn't get much closer. But it wasn't a loss where I felt happy that I'd given myself permission to go for my shots, where it flowed, where I played well and she just played better. It was an uptight match (for both of us in fact). The woman who beat me went on to win the tournament - and much more easily than in this match, so I know I'm up there and technically as able as anyone. But I couldn't stay in the moment this second match. I knew what I had to do, and where I had to go, mentally, just didn't do it, and didn't go there.
Nonetheless, I'm on the up. Next time I order stuff from you I'll get a TennisWarrior t-shirt. I'm such a believer, I need to advertise the word (and remind myself of it at the same time)!
Good wishes over the holiday season from your number 1 UK fan,
Bristol, United Kingdom
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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