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February 1, 2010
Tentative tennis is not much fun!

RAMBLINGS!

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.

Send your tennis buddies or whole team to www.tenniswarrior.com to sign up for their free email tennis lessons.

Official subscribers - 8,162

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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

Congratulations to Serena Williams and Roger Federer for winning the Australian Open. Fantastic tournament with the best coming out on top. In the tournament Serena made some unbelievable comebacks just when she appeared to be down and out. And Roger, well Roger was Roger at his very best, just letting it flow! Instinctive, unconscious tennis at its best. I thought Andy Murray needed to play more aggressively in spots, but overall it was an excellent tournament for him. He's getting closer to winning one!

As you watched and listened to the commentators I truly hope that you, as one of my subscribers, did not fall prey to all of that technique talk. It just drives me crazy! Often if a player is doing well the technique is fine, but if that player begins faltering all of a sudden the technique is wrong and needs an overhaul. Tennis is a game of feel not mechanics. If the feel for the moment breaks down, then the mechanics break down. The best of players work to improve their feel when they are in trouble in match play.

Tom's Online Tennis Lesson
Tentative tennis is not much fun!

In response to my last lesson, one of my readers sent me an email with some interesting principles. I have quoted a few of his insightful paragraphs with my remarks to follow.

"When I was late-teen to early 20's I was a savage competitor. I had to beat them physically and mentally. Upon reflection I was afraid of losing (what a terrible motivator), and a loss was a defeat to my self-respect. With 20+ years of life experience and some maturity, I find that there is now less difference between my practice and competitive games. I'm having too much fun to get tentative.

I had to learn it for myself. How do you teach it to someone else (in less than 20 years)?"

Fantastic question! The answer: I have no idea! Since every thought that a player has depends on that player's volition (decider), all I can do is keep pumping out the principles in hopes that someday a player will have a eureka moment. Catching on could take anywhere from one day to one hundred years. Who knows!

As human beings we all learn at different rates and at different times. We have to learn little bits and pieces of information that eventually develop a memory pathway. Through this memory pathway shoots all this information that one day connects with other memory pathways and Bingo! the light goes on. You think, "I've got it! No tentativeness, no cautiousness, just play and have fun!"

You may have already known this concept but you never made the deep connection until years of learning later. Being exposed to the correct information to learn can certainly speed up the process. But if you reject the principles or fear stands in your way the correct information is useless. And no coach can do anything to help you until YOU change your own thinking and discover and accept and apply the principles.

In one part of this email Dennis says, "I'm having too much fun to get tentative." This sentence is loaded with wisdom. Somewhere in those 20 years he decided to stop with all the negative, tentative and cautious play that was not much fun. If you have not yet mastered the art of playing without being tentative, then you are not having much fun. That should be a wake-up call! Why play if you are not going to have fun?

In order to stop playing tentative and cautiously you must first stop with the excuses for why you cannot. I have heard it all! Here is a list:

1. The ball was coming at me too fast.
2. The ball is always in the wrong spot.
3. I'm worried about what my partner will think when I miss.
4. I'm afraid to make a mistake and fail.
5. When I play less tentatively, I still miss.
6. When I play less tentatively, I still lose.

These are NOT valid reasons for why you should continue to play in this tentative, fearful way. In fact, there are no acceptable excuses for playing in a timid fashion...it's all in your mind! You created these obstacles from your own thinking, and you can eliminate these delusions only with your own thinking.

See below for all of Dennis's email. Do not wait 20 years to discover the fun of playing tentative free tennis. Now is the time to let go, let loose, relax and begin to have fun!

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano

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TESTIMONIAL

Hey Tom,

This excellent article [Quick Tip - January 15, 2010] deserves a thoughtful response. Let's see what I can do....

My competitive season is the summer, so during the winter, I play for fun and fitness, with occasional matches. I see a clear difference as my strokes are getting really nice, but as soon as I start keeping score I realize how rusty I am. Not a big deal for me, but agony for my hypercompetitive buddy who doesn't negotiate the transition as well.

There are other analogies from my other sideline as a ski instructor, where students are concerned with side-effects ranging from embarrassment to injury. This fear is an obvious impediment to improvement and it is my job to get them through it with a smile on their face. And like Henry Ford, I make the point that you should look where you want to go, not at that tree. The natural response is to fixate on what scares you.

While fear seems like a reasonable issue with skiing, I submit that fear also applies to tennis. Getting my buddy to work through the fear is the way he will navigate the middle ground between blasting recklessly and pushing floaters. He is so good in practice that I got to believe he will find it.

When I was late-teen to early 20's I was a savage competitor. I had to beat them physically and mentally. Upon reflection I was afraid of losing (what a terrible motivator), and a loss was a defeat to my self-respect. With 20+ years of life experience and some maturity, I find that there is now less difference between my practice and competitive games. I'm having too much fun to get tentative.

I had to learn it for myself. How do you teach it to someone else (in less than 20 years)?

Your student,

Dennis Lindenberg
Northborough, Massachusetts

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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.

Click here for more information about my books and tapes

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