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July 1, 2011
Is Accepting Failure in Tennis a Mental Weakness?

RAMBLINGS!

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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 Accepting Failure in Tennis a Mental Weakness?

In the Tennis Warrior System, mental attitude always comes first. If you want your tennis game to excel, your thinking and your priorities must be right. An important aspect of correct thinking is your ability to accept failures and move on. We all know this one, don't we? Well, there still seems to be some confusion on exactly what this means.

Many players misunderstand the principle behind accepting failures and moving on, and they think it means they should have a cavalier "I don't care" attitude about mistakes and losses. The implication here is that players do not care about failing and it does not bother them. This only leads them to wonder, "How am I going to build mental strength with an indifferent attitude?" Or, "How can I teach my son or daughter to fight, fight, fight with that impassive, nonchalant focus?"

Recently, I was on the court coaching a friend's son. My friend asked me how his son was going to get that extra drive if he is taught to be so relaxed about his failures. The answer involves a threefold approach to establishing the correct mental environment for learning.

1. You are not teaching the player to like or enjoy failure; you are teaching him to take responsibility for his failure. And coping with each loss or failure rests entirely on his mental attitude. All players must understand that blaming everything and everyone for their failures runs counter to a champion's mindset. In my Tennis Warrior system, the Refocus Technique is there to remind you, "The next shot is more important than the last mistake."

2. In match play, you teach a player that the ability to separate quickly from a failure is critical to his winning percentage. If he swings from feeling overly enthusiastic when he succeeds to feeling totally dejected when he fails, he has a problem. Logging too much time in a negative, dejected mindset results in more points lost. On the other hand, logging more time with a positive, upbeat mindset means a higher percentage of points won. To increase the winning percentage, he must quickly separate from his failures in the match.

3. Establish a week-by-week and month-by-month, intense, disciplined training schedule, and combine that with the practice of accepting failures. Over time, this training regimen will instill in the player a sense of self-discipline, work ethic and a drive to excel. Here we have two sides to the same coin: Accepting failures and moving on is one side of the coin, while an ongoing, intense, disciplined training is the other side of the coin.

Establishing this consistent mental and physical routine has a major effect on a player's mind. Even if he occasionally has a bad day of practice, the long-term effect is still momentum gained. Players must get accustomed to having a poor practice then moving on. Forging forward relentlessly despite the failures is what creates a great player. They are two sides of the same coin!

At Wimbledon in 2008 Marat Safin beat Novak Djokovic in a surprise upset. Here is an excerpt from an interview afterward:

"Despite a disappointing year on court, he [Marat Safin] said he had never stopped working 'unbelievably hard' to turn his fortunes around. 'I was starting to get a little desperate because I have been working really hard, week after week. But the results just were not coming, and when that happens you need to be mentally strong to continue to play this game.'"

As you can see, hard work plus mastering the ability to accept your failures and move on is the way to develop mental strength. The cavalier "I don't care" attitude about failures is a misapplication of the true principle, and will indeed lead you to mental weakness.

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano

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TESTIMONIAL

Hi Tom,

"I read about your book, "The Truth about Winning," in the TennisServer.com email newsletter, and I bought it from Amazon. It's a great book and I definitely see how it applies to many areas of life in addition to tennis.

By the way, I'm just now reading your book for the second time. It's definitely something you have to study in order to really absorb what you're saying."

Thanks again for providing this wonderful resource.

Francis Perry
Manasquan, NJ

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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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