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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
Is Your Tennis Play Scripted?
When you are learning tennis through conventional methods, your game is scripted just like a Broadway play. When you move to hit a tennis ball, your footwork is choreographed so that you will sometimes take long steps and sometimes take short quick steps. All you do is follow the script. When you hit a forehand or backhand groundstroke you must take the racket back a certain way, bend your knees or keep a firm wrist. All these mechanics are scripted for you ahead of time. All you do is follow the script! When volleying at the net, you should keep a locked wrist, keep your elbow in and lunge this way or that way. Again, these mechanics are all scripted for you ahead of time. All you do is follow the script and 'mastery' of the game is yours. . . according to someone else's script!
Conventional methods are notorious for offering an exact mechanical script to bring about success. This script someone else has written for you! And your task is simply to act out the script. If you cannot perform, you will receive weekly lessons until you get it right or quit. But be of good cheer, with these lessons no matter how poorly you perform you will never get fired! You are consigned to perform again and again in next week's lesson.
Why are we all blindly following these predetermined, scripted moves and who wrote all of these scripts? How did it all happen? The best that I can determine is that many years ago when the first of the instructional tennis books entered the scene, those authors began to 'write the script.' They watched, studied and analyzed the mechanics of the best tennis players in the world and began recording these in books as techniques. Sounds like a fantastic idea! But there is a huge fallacy!
THE AUTHORS WERE STUDYING AND WRITING ABOUT RESULTS, NOT CAUSES.
Their books, which supposedly defined the techniques for excellence, failed to address the true cause of that excellence. The strokes they analyzed were actually the polished, finished mechanics of years and years of practice. The techniques were uniquely individual to each player who developed his very own style and feel through the many years of practice. Yet these authors created the dubious tradition of teaching those techniques and exact mechanics as the only script to be followed for decades to come.
I'm sure this was the beginning of the scripted mechanics that we slavishly follow to this day. The script may have been updated and rewritten many times, but the "follow the script" mentality has never changed. If your personal strokes do not follow the sacred predetermined script, your game must undergo a tennis makeover to comply!
LEARN TO SCRIPT YOUR OWN BROADWAY PLAY!
One of the most egregious offenders of these scripted techniques is the "set up to hit every ball" concept, in which you run to the ball, get yourself in good position with good balance, then hit the ball. Many coaches teach this "run, set up and hit" concept. The problem is that your opponent has not read your script and is running you all over the place. Setting up to hit is impossible! You must develop the flexibility and the adaptability to hit balls on the run, moving forward, moving backward, reaching wide, high balls, low balls, whatever comes your way.
If you think about setting up to hit every ball you will become less automatic, less spontaneous and less instinctive. In tennis this is the kiss of death! What you must do is run and adapt to the shot you have at hand. In other words, learn to write your own script the moment you arrive to hit the ball. The more you practice running and hitting instinctively, the more automatic and spontaneous your play will become. Each shot will be unique to your own style, form and creativity. Simply run and hit, and the rest will take care of itself.
Champions do not follow a script that someone else has written. Champions write their own script! You should do the same.
Your tennis pro,
I became a golf warrior. Here's what happened: Yesterday, I got to play golf with the former pro at Champions Golf Club. We played at the Tradition. I was planning on just playing, not thinking, playing loose. Hit it close on hole 1--birdie, hit it close again on 2--birdie, made a birdie on 7---now 3 under. 8 is a par 3,157 yards....made it for an ace!! Only my second hole in one ever. The last one was 17 years ago. I had a great round, made some mistakes, but never let it discourage me. Golf, like everything else, is not perfect. Don't try to be perfect. One of my thoughts for the day was literally "this swing does NOT have to be perfect." Whatever I have today is good enough.
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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