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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
Priorities for success in 2008
Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
It's a New Year! I hope you all have a new Mental Attitude to bring into the new year...let's summarize the Tennis Warrior System to make sure you do.
Here are the priorities for the Tennis Warrior System.
- Mental attitude
PRIORITY NUMBER 1 - MENTAL ATTITUDE
From the first day of the new year on the tennis court you should learn to "give yourself the freedom to go for your shot and if you miss, accept it." Remember "going for your shots" does not mean to pulverized the ball, it merely means the absence of cautiousness or tentativeness. You could be hitting a feathery touch drop shot and be "going for your shots." It's that mental attitude, not how hard you hit the ball!
And when you fail...
Do NOT let negatives, mistakes or failures hinder you from forgetting mistakes and moving on. You should move on after a missed shot remembering, "the next shot is more important than the last mistake." You should move on after a poor practice session remembering, "the next practice is more important than the last poor session" You should move on after a match loss remembering, "the next match is more important than the last loss."
THE BOTTOM LINE - go for your shots, but when you fail ALWAYS focus on the long term big picture and NOT the isolated negatives, mistake and failures of the moment.
PRIORITY NUMBER 2 - REPETITION
You should know the drill by now! Repetition is the chariot of genius. Nothing is accomplished without putting in the time and doing the reps...massive repetition! You can do repetition on a ball machine, against a wall, in a group or with a hitting partner. Even playing practice matches and regular match play is a type of repetition. For the maximum benefit you should combine different types of repetition. Hitting many tennis balls in all these different scenarios challenges your sense of balance, timing, ball judgment and muscle sense and will effectively develop your game. All four of these senses will come together to give you a 'feel' of a particular stroke as well as a 'feel' of different court situations.
Repetition will mold your stroke according to your own style, form, creativity and even your personality! Exactly like you learned to walk or ride a bicycle. Yes, learning tennis is more difficult than learning to ride a bicycle, but that just means a thousand times more repetition.
THE BOTTOM LINE - if the best in the world must hit millions of tennis balls to become great, why would you not at least have to hit thousands?
PRIORITY NUMBER 3 - MECHANICS
And here at the bottom of the list is mechanics! The correct mental attitude with much repetition will give you a 'feel' of a stroke and that 'feel' will allow the mechanics to operate automatically. No need to over-think the mechanics. Without the proper balance, timing, ball judgment and muscle sense developed from endless repetition you are spinning your wheels in regard to mechanics. It's like trying to run without first learning the proper balance, timing and muscle sense which is essential in learning how to walk. And to learn how to walk you do NOT need an avalanche of verbal commands. Just hours and hours and hours of practice.
THE BOTTOM LINE - verbal tennis tips to develop mechanics abound every where, but a good consistent training program based on repetition is a player's winner circle and victory on the court.
In 2008, think right, learn right, train right and guess what? You WILL begin to play right! Oh, and have a Happy New Year!
Your Tennis Pro,
Here's a personal testimony to your teaching method. I blew my hip last year, so I will have surgery this summer. This injury gave me the chance to try your method and learn something new--how to hit a heavy ball. I cataloged a slow motion visual image of a pro forehand in my head. My only technique change was to move the grip a little on both backhand and forehand (for more spin) and point the racket face down prior to forward swing contact. No other thinking was involved!! My only swing thought was to relax and hit rhythmically. I hit the first 1,000 balls either in the fence or in the net. Gradually, after a year of drilling, I got the confidence that the ball would grab the strings with the correct amount of spin. I greatly increased speed, depth and spin.
My forehand and backhand strokes moved from a NTRP 5.0 to 6.0 level. (I am not exaggerating). This dramatic change occurred at age 54. The injury forced me to allow myself to learn a new stroke through constant repetition without thinking. I made no value judgement in learning my strokes because I was not preoccupied with playing better since I was unable to move well enough to play a match. Even though post-surgery I may never get to play a tournament again and use my new strokes, the personal satisfaction of improving my strokes after playing tennis for 44 years is my reward and a testimony to the effectiveness of your method.
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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