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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
Find a way to get the "w"
[Tennis lingo for the Win]
Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
In the August 2007 issue of TennisLife Magazine I was struck by an article about Pete Sampras by Tom Gullikson. Tom Gullikson was Tim Gullikson's twin brother who coached Pete Sampras and to whom Pete credits much of his success. Tim helped Pete think correctly about his game and how great competitors think. Pete picked up on this advice and began dominating the world of tennis. Here is one of the first principles Tim taught Pete.
Quoted by Tom Gullikson, Page 45 TennisLife Magazine.
"Becoming a great competitor was one of the things Tim helped Pete with from the beginning. Back then Pete was most concerned about how he was striking the ball, but Tim told him, 'Listen, you're going to hit the ball a little bit different every day. It's just the nature of the game. You're one of the top two or three athletes on the tour - you move great, you've got great hands, you can hit any shot in the book, you can play offense, you can play defense, you can jump.
So on the days that you're not hitting the ball as cleanly as you would like, take the little white collar off the shirt, put the blue collar on and beat the guy with your athletic ability and your competitiveness, and not always with your shot-making.'
That's the bottom line: You've got to find a way to get the 'w.' Pete was great at doing that."
These few paragraphs are loaded with mental toughness principles that most players just do NOT get.
You do not have to be overly concerned about perfection in striking the ball. Obviously you need strokes to play the game, but these strokes will vary from day to day...then what? As Tim Gullikson explained to Pete, "you are going to hit the ball a little bit different every day. It's just the nature of the game." If one of the best pros in the world has inconsistency from day to day, why wouldn't you? Yet when your strokes are not working well, you panic as if everything is lost!
Pete took many years and a good coach to help him figure this out. You should learn it NOW! Pete's game exploded after he learned this principle and I will tell you the same principle that Tim told Pete. On the days that you're not hitting the ball as cleanly as you would like, take the little white collar off the shirt, put the blue collar on and beat the guy with your athletic ability and your competitiveness, and not always with your shot-making.
You learn to beat players with your mental attitude, your competitiveness, your shot selection, your true grit, your craftiness or whatever else it takes on days that your strokes are not up to par. You do not just give up and think, "my strokes are not working, therefore I can't win." Yet, that is exactly what most players think.
So why? Why did Pete and many other players focus obsessively on striking the ball perfectly to win? Because that's all they have been taught. When you have been taught nothing but mechanics and technique from day one on the court, what else are you going to think?
It's the same old contradiction that has dominated the tennis industry for many years. Coaches acknowledge that a high percentage of winning at tennis is mental. In fact Jimmy Connors was once quoted as saying that tennis is 90 percent mental. But most coaches, books and videos teach 90 percent mechanics to win. This is a definite contradiction that causes all players to overestimate the value of strokes and underestimate the value of mental warfare in match play.
You may be thinking, not me, I understand the importance of the mental game. And I'm sure you do, intellectually. But in application, as soon as you hit the courts and things are not going well with your strokes you are lost. You have unknowingly and subconsciously been influenced by the contradiction that is entrenched in the tennis industry. It's up to you to get out of this rut and make the proper match play decisions that separate you from the rest.
Match play tennis is not 90 percent strokes, it's 90 percent mental...act like it!
Your Tennis Pro,
I received the Ultimate Tennis Warrior package and started reading "The Truth About Winning" and "The Relax Technique" books.
Well, last night in my doubles ladder match. I won the first two sets very easily. I was going for my shots and playing relaxed. I was happy with my results. But then came the 3rd set (we switch partners for each set, the player with most games won moves up, most games lost moves down). My partner dumped a couple of easy volleys in the net and I lost my serve at 2-3. I was ready to just bag it and head for the showers. I started to clam up and not hit my strokes, and I was letting the negatives just soak in. Down 40-15 on our opponent's serve, I figured we had no chance. Then I remembered Borg's comment and other bits from the first two chapters of your book, "The Truth About Winning." Well, we came back and broke them. I stayed positive and confident about going for my shots and not worrying about missing. We won 6-4 and I ended up moving up with a total of 18 games won! I had a spurt there where I was starting to go back to the negativity, but I recognized that this was bogging me down.
Now, granted, I know I'll have some ups and downs, but I did find the small amount I've read useful already. I can't wait to finish your books and CD's and to read and listen to them over again!
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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