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November 1, 1999
Thinking correctly on approach shots

Hi everyone!  Below is the new lesson.  It focuses on the approach shot.  I cover three major problems players have when hitting approach shots.  If you can just solve one of them you'll notice a difference in your game....solve all three and you'll move up a notch or two!!!

Thanks for all the feedback from the last lesson.  "The Tennis Warrior System" seemed to come out on top.  How do you become a Tennis Warrior?  By learning information through coaches, experience, books, tapes, and trial and error.  In fact, the definition I use to describe mental toughness is:  "Mental toughness is the accumulation of valuable information to be utilized at the proper time."    I hope these monthly lessons become part  of that accumulated information.   Enjoy the lesson and see you next time! Send any new tennis buffs to tom@tenniswarrior.com to be placed on my free email tennis lesson.

Tom's Online Tennis Lesson

Welcome to the tennis lesson hotline, sponsored by Tom’s Tennis Tapes, "educating players one mind at a time." I’m Tom Veneziano. This lesson lasts approximately two minutes and changes on the first of every month. 

What is an approach shot, and what should you know about it?  An approach shot is the shot you hit that will bring you to the net.  An illustration of this would be playing singles and rallying from the baseline waiting for a short ball.  When you get a short ball you hit an approach shot and move up to the net.  The same thing is true for doubles if you play back on the baseline.  When you receive a short ball, and at least one opponent is on the baseline, you can hit an approach shot and come up to the net. 

There are three major mistakes that most players make when hitting approach shots.  First, they go for too much.  Most players see a short ball (especially if it is slow) and think this is it, I’m going for it.  Usually they knock it out or into the net.  Their mindset is one of trying to win the point (there’s that hit winners mindset again!) instead of hitting an approach shot and looking for a volley or overhead to win the point.  When hitting an approach shot your mindset should be to set yourself up for the win, not win the point outright.  What you’re thinking when hitting the approach shot is crucial for long term match play.  The key is, stop trying to go for too much! 

The second major mistake is trying to stand still when hitting approach shots.  Forget it!  This is not the way to make a fluent transition from the baseline to the net, and in reality if you put on the brakes to hit an approach shot, you will affect your timing and rhythm.  The pros do not do it this way and neither should you.  On the surface it seems to make sense, because if you’re still, you’re balanced, but tennis is a moving game and you should learn to be balanced while on the move.  Just like learning to ride a bicycle or learning to walk, you practice until your balance improves.  Standing still and hitting any tennis shot is a myth and is not based on true application.  The next time you're playing, give yourself the freedom to hit your approach shot on the move and enjoy the ride! 

The third major mistake is not hitting deep enough.  If you hit the approach shot deep the ball will stay in the air longer and give you more time to reach your net position.  Also, if your ball stays in the air longer to reach your opponent, this means it will stay in the air longer to get back to you, and as a result give you more time to react to the ball.  Obviously, this means you will not be rushed when hitting your shots.  Short approach shots, less reaction time - deep approach shots, more reaction time....it’s a no brainer!  

In summary, the three major problems players have when hitting approach shots are:

  1. Going for too much.

  2. Trying to stand still when hitting.

  3. Not hitting their approach shot deep. 

Learn them, apply them, and watch the difference! 

Your email tennis coach,


1999 Tom Veneziano, 10855 Meadowglen #1022, Houston, TX 77042

What others are saying about my tapes!

"Tom deals with the thinking end of tennis like no one else. It's almost too difficult to explain, you have to experience it. He has an uncanny knack for getting right to the heart of the matter. You come away thinking, that's right: it makes sense!"

Colleen Cremer, Houston, TX.

"It's interesting to note that everyone can use these tapes from beginner to championship level. You can apply the information to whatever level you play on."

Dan Hanusa, Houston, TX.

" Tom's audio cassettes have changed my thinking, aligning it with the correct information needed to improve my game. He's right there with you, inside your head, challenging you to make those changes. It's like having your own personal coach! I highly recommend his tapes for everyone."

Linda Zimmerman, Houston, TX.

"On the way to my HLTA match I listened to Tom's tape, "Some Before Match Pointers." Call it a coincidence, but I won my first HLTA match ever! I just seemed to be in a better frame of mind. Thanks, Tom."

Mary Ogden, Houston, TX.

"Tom and I have been friends for over twenty years. It's not surprising to me players talk so positively about his tapes. He's always possessed exceptional athletic ability along with an unusual analytical mind. Tom simply likes to think! At times he would drive me crazy, but he was the driving force behind my journey into tennis. I'm 6'1" and Tom is 5'6" but I could never beat the little imp! All joking aside, if Tom's thinking is on audio cassettes, you should listen! You'll never view tennis the same way again!"

Sam Lacava,Tennis Professional, Stewartsville, N.J.

Thank you all for the testimonials! I appreciate it!
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