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March 1, 2009
Are you as mentally tough as a child?


Welcome to all the new subscribers to my email tennis lessons.  You will receive one long lesson on the first of every month and some quick tips in between.

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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
Are you as mentally tough as a child?

How interesting to watch 7-, 8- or 9-year-old children learn the game of tennis. You see no fear of missing, no tightening of the arm, no over-thinking of the technical skills. They are not worried about what others think. The child is just happy to run around and hit a tennis ball...anywhere! If the ball goes over the fence, wow that was fun. If it lands in the court, that's fun too. If the ball hits the pro in the head, that's loads of fun!

For most children, their youth and innocence means just running around and hitting a tennis ball is fun. The same is true for the top pros when they were young. Roger Federer would hit against a wall for hours and hours while Andre Agassi pounded away on a ball machine day after day. It's safe to say that all children when practicing at a young age fail often, yet they just kept on hitting the ball and having fun. Some children had coaches to guide them, some children had their parents and some children just hit by themselves. Bjorn Borg played on his own for 3 years before he had any kind of guidance.

Children display an energetic, mentally tough attitude that few teens or adults can match. But can a child improve just by hitting balls and having fun with little or no technical information? What do you think? If the child began playing this way at 7 years of age, by the time he is 9 he would show signs of significant improvement. Bjorn Borg found a coach at 12 years of age, who said years later that Borg's strokes at 12 looked the same as when he won Wimbledon!

Compared to many adults, a child at a young age demonstrates a better grasp of mental dynamics by not being preoccupied by failures. The child may not know what he is doing but nevertheless he still is thinking correctly. Adults are supposed to know what they are doing, and often do know, but still struggle to perform with this child-like mental attitude.

So, why can't we all think like that child now? What happened?

It's simple! Somewhere around the age of 9, 10 or 11 the child is exposed to the tennis industry with its full force of tennis lessons, tournaments, rankings and peer pressure. Now all of a sudden the child's mind is inundated with, "You're winning, you're losing, you're failing, elbow in, keep your knees bent, that technique is right, that technique is wrong, you can win if you do this, you will lose if you do that," and so forth. The child begins to collapse under all of this propaganda and thinks, "Failing and losing are important, doing the correct technique all the time is important, If I miss, I'm doing something wrong. If I make the shot, I'm doing something right. Everyone is thinking this way, so I should too!"

The child has now become aware of failing and succeeding as being of the highest order and acts accordingly. The childlike fun and energetic mental attitude have vanished! In the child's mind this attitude must go because there was too much failure and that's not tolerated. Learning tennis is serious now! No more swinging away, having fun and playing automatic, instinctive tennis. The parents, the coaches, the rankings and their peers directly or indirectly demand that they comply. The child must play controlled, mechanical, failure-free tennis to compete and be accepted. I guess you could say they become "tennis industry approved"!

Are you "tennis industry approved"? Do you dance to the tune of the rankings, your peers, winning or being technically perfect? Have you developed a "tennis industry approved" mindset to the point where you are afraid to take a chance on the tennis court, because you may fail? Have you given up your childlike fun and no fear of missing to become part of the tennis status quo? If so, you have lost your mental toughness and the joy of the game. But be of good cheer, help is on the way! All you have to do is think like a child again! What do a child and a Champion have in common? Both have no fear of failing; both play instinctive, automatic, relaxed tennis; both have fun and totally ignore the status quo. Oh, and I almost forgot, both the child and the Champion are constantly and naturally improving!

Your Tennis Pro,

Tom Veneziano




Your CDs and books in the Ultimate Warrior Package are helping. My 10-year-old daughter Ally just won her 12 yr ZAT Tournament and has champed up. She used 2 strategies: Calm your mind by thinking "the next shot is more important than the last mistake", and focus by tracking the ball (the direction reaction technique).
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

Cynthia Champion
Houston, Texas



Thank you for your response to my E-book Special and free gift. Many of you have enjoyed receiving the material quickly and paying no postage! Once you have the information you can begin making mental adjustments that will benefit your game immediately. You just have to be willing to think differently! I was surprised when I received this testimonial below on the same day he received the e-book package.

"Tom, I opened and printed off both e-books (The Relax Technique and Ball Placement in Singles and Doubles) and listened to the audio (Before-Match Pointers). I've been playing tennis since age 16, I'm now 47. I've been teaching since 2000, I'm certified to teach in Canada, U.S. and Europe. I found the e-books and audio well worth the money I paid to get that info, it made me think and gave me a whole new perspective on what I should be working on to get my game to the next level. I'm glad I bought the packaged deal."

Dan Emrich
Chatham, Ontario, Canada


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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