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April 1, 2010
Coping with adversity in tennis


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
Coping with adversity in tennis

Adversity is inevitable but negative thinking is optional. I have been teaching tennis for over 35 years but it still amazes me how many players still allow external distractions to control them. I guess this originates from not wanting to take responsibility for our failures and learning from them. Instead, it was the wind, the sun, the ball, the court, the racket, the strings, the drill, my partner, my husband, my wife, my second grade teacher, my dog, my opponent's red outfit, etc. Did I leave anything out?

When we think of repetition we think only in terms of hitting tennis balls to improve our physical skills, not the more important mental repetition to improve our mental skills. Learning to practice mental skills can have an impact on your thinking - your mental toughness can set you apart from most players. Your physical skills may teach you to hit a tennis ball but your mental skills teach you to win.

When you practice thinking correctly over and over again you will develop mental toughness. I have a website, email lessons, books and audio CD's to help you improve your thinking and master mental toughness. But you must make the application!

Remember, negative thinking is optional. You choose to let stress paralyze your thinking. All the outside distractions do not make you think negatively. You choose to think negatively. I know you could swear it was this thing or that thing giving you that poor mental attitude, but you're wrong. You have control over your own mental attitude.

Best-selling author Wayne Dyer wisely stated, "You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside."

The problem is that players have conditioned themselves to think that external adversity is the problem for their internal stress. They are the victim. Many players have used this external rationale so instinctively that they do not even know what I'm taking about! The idea that they have internal control over external situations is completely foreign.

Repetition can improve our mental skills just as repetition can also condition poor mental skills. This is exactly what many players are doing. Week after week on the tennis court they continue to condition themselves to allow adversity to control them. Tennis matches are filled with obstacles, failures and adversities - these negatives are not the problem. The problem is letting these adversities dictate your mental attitude.

PRINCIPLE: The more you surrender to adversity, the more adversity will control your mind.

If you are constantly practicing and conditioning yourself to think correctly, when you are under pressure situations the wrong thinking will not rear its ugly head and make defeat inevitable.

Remember this: Each time you step on the tennis court to play a match, your mental attitude is on the court with you to be tested. You mentally never stand still. You either allow the external adversities to control your mind and become mentally weaker, or you control your mind from the inside to minimize the adversity and grow mentally stronger.

You are always conditioning yourself one way or another. Do not let adversity incorrectly mold your thinking because adversity is inevitable. Negative thinking is optional. Choose wisely! It's up to you.

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano



Hi Tom,

I received your cd's and t-shirt and am most pleased. I have learned so much from the Jeff Greenwald CD book that has helped me greatly in my tennis endeavors. When I played 1 of the 3 discs I bought from you I was a bit surprised at the quality of instruction, the professional quality of materials and presentation, and some points hit home immediately. Real good stuff that I haven't heard conveyed or approached in the same way before.

I'll wear your t-shirt proudly and hope it brings others to you. Last weekend I won my division of the USTA So. California Grand Prix Masters Invitational. Michael Chang was there with a large contingent and believed his father would play me in the final. However Joe lost in a 3 hour and 15 minute match in the Champions Tie Break, 12-14. In the final I knew what to expect after monitoring their match and expected this pusher to hit everything back with deep high shots, excellent drop shots and a serve of over 100mph.

In the first set I beat him methodically at 6-1 and upon getting up for the second set found I strangely had a sprained ankle and couldn't put pressure on it. I refused to retire and took my 3 minute time out to synch up and spray the ankle. Since I accepted that I could not run, I looked for how I could hurt him in a tie break and used the second set for that. I lost the 2nd set 4-6 and won the Champions Tie Break at 10-6. Mind over matter and won the fight with my brain that kept saying don't run, don't hurt yourself more, give in etc!!!

On Wednesday I had 16 cc of fluid drained from my knee which took the brunt due to the right ankle sprain. A week of recuperating and it is still not right, but with patience and time it will be back and so will I.

I love what you teach in that during practice and practice matches, be brave and stick with the shots that need work, practice, and build consistency so you have the faith and trust to use such shots in pressure situations.

Thank you,

Paul Ruben
Van Nuys, CA


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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